Mobile online shopping- bah humbug!

By Becca Bellush

I was ranting recently about the fact that people shop online...on their phone. The screens are so small, how do you see everything!? My colleague let me know this (and Bloomberg backed it up): online shopping is bigger than ever this year with expected sales of $43 billion. Cyber Monday sales grew 24 percent this year, from last, and 22 percent of those sales came from mobile users. With that, I decided to do some digging. Turns out, some brands have found a way to make it work for their consumer friends, with just a few drawbacks. I dove into my inner child, middle aged woman soul and tech guru heart - and am now much less of a mobile shopping Scrooge.

At first glance, the mobile site is easy on the eyes. The layout reads and functions like an app, with buttons and simple drop down menus. The navigation is fluid. Images filled with little elves and presents, complete with sale information, rotate throughout the browser (great deals I might add) for easy click-ability. As a gift finder, this mobile site is awesome. You can plug in the age and gender of your little one and out pops some great recommendations. This is huge for the non-decision maker last minute shopper, like myself.


Drawback: Browsing. If you want to see everything and anything, without inputting information or choosing from a toy category, you gotta head to the full site. A bit of a bummer for me, again the anti- decision girl, who sometimes needs to know a ton, if not all, of the options.


My grandmother would get this catalog in the mail every few days for at least 25 years. I decided to look into their online situation, to see how they're keeping with the times. Contrary to Toys 'R Us, Coldwater's mobile site had great browsing capabilities, where you could choose from a clothing category and view all the colors and fabrics in the world.


Drawback: Coincidentally, my friends were emailing back and forth about what to get mom for Christmas, from Coldwater. When they tried to share links through email (and checked it on their smartphones), they were directed to the homepage of the mobile site, not the specific item. The sharing was really lacking and they couldn't make their decision on the go, which you know we all like to do.


To me, Best Buy gets it, retail-wise. They keep it simple online, offer a huge variety of products, and their in-store customer service is always helpful (in my experience). Their mobile site isn't much different, with very simple navigation and a great search function. The "Buy Now" function allows shoppers to use their account and a linked credit card for a one-click buying experience. That's what I call mobile shopping!


Drawback: It was kind of boring! No movement or fun pictures, which I came to expect after visiting the other two sites. While simple is great, fun counts too, and can make the shopping experience just that much more enjoyable.


Are you shopping online via mobile for the holidays? If so, who rocked the buying experience? Which brand failed? Share with us in comments!