Closing the Curtains on Bad Mobile Experiences

Elizabeth Huebner I recently decided I was going to give my living room a spring makeover, and clear everything out and start from scratch. Already having a love for design, I previously signed up for email and mail from companies such as Restoration Hardware and West Elm. On any given week, they send me approximately 3 – 4 emails each and I always open.
With my spring makeover in full swing, I was ready to take action and make purchases. Unfortunately, for some of these companies, my interactions with them deterred me from making purchases and opening future communications.

One specific item I was looking for was curtains. I received a direct mail piece from Restoration Hardware where I found a set that would work perfectly in my space, but were just too expensive.

A few days later I received an email with the subject line: Special Pre-Season Savings of 15% on Our Entire Collection. Upon opening, I immediately saw the curtains I wanted, and knew I had to make them mine.

This image shows how the email from Restoration Hardware rendered on my phone.

When I clicked on the image within the email it took me directly to the drapery section of the Restoration Hardware mobile website (see image below). Immediately my experience started to go south. I could barely read the content on site or navigate around. The font was too small and my fingers were too large to select what I wanted. The site clearly wasn’t mobile optimized.

This image shows the content on Restoration Hardware’s website I was presented when I clicked through from their original email.

Out of curiosity, I went back to the original e-mail and clicked on the mobile link at the top of the email to see if somehow I was missing the mobile optimized content.

Unfortunately, the result of my click was a very basic HTML version similar to a text version (see image at right). It was my last attempt to be patient and to try to work through it all. In the end, Restoration Hardware lost my business.

This is Restoration Hardware’s version of the email optimized for mobile that you see when you click on the mobile link.

I continued my search for the perfect curtains through a new vendor, West Elm. I received an email with an enticing offer to save 15% on my next purchase. Once I clicked through, to my delight, I was provided an amazing mobile experience, found the curtains I wanted and they will soon to be hanging in my newly finished living room.

This image shows the content on West Elm’s website I was presented when I clicked through from their original email, mobile optimized.

This image shows how easy it is to navigate the content and find the information consumers are looking for.

Here at Knotice, we recently published our mobile email opens report for the second half of 2011, where we have seen more consumers continue to open emails on mobile devices or tablets. Companies need to address and understand the visual presentation of this content, as well as user experience in these situations.

From my experience, it can become a costly lesson for retailers if they don’t adjust their strategy to optimize email content and direct the click through to a mobile optimized site when applicable.

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