Visitor Monitoring LivingSocial: The Challenge of Keeping Up with Customers on the Go | Keynote
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LivingSocial: The Challenge of Keeping Up with Customers on the Go

By Aaron Rudger | August 24, 2012

CATEGORIES: Mobile Quality

Recent web traffic analysis shows that many Social Retailers are getting an enormous amount of traffic from mobile devices. In the case of LivingSocial, they’re getting more traffic from mobile than the desktop. Breaking down mobile traffic between the apps and the mobile web, the web is preferred over apps nearly two-fold. This affinity of LivingSocial users for mobile websites is in line with general mobile retail shopping preference finding revealed in a recent Keynote Mobile Study.

LS_Desktop v Mobile

So it would stand to reason that LivingSocial is doing everything possible to maximize the performance of their websites on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). Yet, looking at results in the Keynote Startup 3-Screen Index, their performance isn’t where you’d hope it would be. On tablets the 43.9 second average response time of their site is downright painful, faring far worse than the average startup.

Social Retail Index 081212

And while their 11.19 second average page response time of their mobile site is only slightly above the other startups. When you compare the smartphone experience for their mobile website to other more established brands (7.28 second average), you can see that they’re not living up to industry standards and consequently, user expectations.

Retail average index 081212

But the mobile challenge LivingSocial faces is ones other companies would love to have. Their customers and prospects are actively seeking them out on mobile devices and with a few improvements, the company can quickly improve the mobile user experience. For smartphone users they’re delivering a clean, simple website designed in accordance to many mobile best practices. However with 300 KB of content it is on the heavy side. Trimming down the size of the site delivering fewer and lighter content could lead to faster downloads.

But the big question is: Why such is the site so slow for the iPad user? Firstly, they’re delivering up to 2 MB of content with over 150 elements. They aren’t consistently combining Cascading Style Sheets or JavaScript, have over-sized images and aren’t following other W3C best practices.

Worse yet, they make the iPad user go through a 3 step registration process that isn’t required of smartphone users. Mobile websites are important for all retailers because they’re far more discoverable than apps which require a download from an app store. Three additional steps needed to get to a home page increases the likelihood of user abandonment. Requiring upfront registration and collecting information is very common in Social Retail. But if fake information will get you to the destination, companies should weigh what’s gained in collecting junk data against the potential loss of real prospects.

LivingSocial has a good problem when it comes to mobile—how to handle plenty of traffic. With a little work on the performance side, the company can deliver visitors a sizzling mobile experience that they’ll be sure to tell their friends.

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