More than half of US online adults use smartphones to research and purchase products and services, making retail mobile websites an integral part of the shopping journey. In our newly published report, The Forrester Digital Experience Review™: US Retail Mobile Sites, Q4 2022, we reviewed the mobile websites of 10 retailers — Best Buy, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Nike, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Sephora, Target, The Home Depot, and Walmart — to find out how effectively retailers are meeting customers’ expectations.

Our research reviewed retail mobile sites’ functionality features and user experience capabilities, as well as findings from our observation of users interacting with and completing assigned tasks on these retailer sites.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Lowe’s is the overall digital experience leader. The Lowe’s mobile site experience effectively guides users throughout the shopping journey, earning it the top spot overall as well as for both functionality and user experience. Lowe’s was the only retailer to earn perfect scores in any functionality category, and its user experience stood out with strong search tools, high-quality augmented reality, and a smart virtual assistant. Best Buy came in a close second for functionality, with robust fulfillment information, while The Home Depot and Walmart earned high marks for their user experience.
  • Extensive product detail pages (PDPs) inform purchase decisions. One of the main hindrances of online shopping is the inability to physically see and touch the product before purchasing. The retailers we reviewed did a good job of educating customers on their products by including extensive product information, customer ratings and reviews, and dynamic product images on the PDP. Retailers that stood out also included features such as comparison tools, complementary product recommendations, and estimated delivery dates/shipping fees.
  • Retailers have search basics down, but advanced features are lacking. Most retailer mobile sites that we reviewed checked the boxes for basic search functionality, but very few offer more than the bare minimum. Retailers that excelled in this area included more advanced capabilities, like the ability to search by barcode, image, or voice. To further elevate the search experience, top-scoring retailers offer advanced filter capabilities such as the ability to tailor results by fulfillment options, product availability, and current sales and promotions.
  • User-friendly language helps users consume content easily. Most of the sites we reviewed avoided jargon and used clear language in their content, but several exceeded expectations. Leading retailers use clear language throughout the site, including product details, help, and privacy and security content. They explain how they collect and use customer data in simple terms and give examples as needed.
  • Don’t overlook the importance of help on mobile sites. Many retailers that we reviewed offered some form of customer service on their mobile sites, but most don’t make it easily accessible. Retailers that excelled here featured chat prominently on their site with “sticky” (i.e., the feature doesn’t disappear while browsing the site) chat icons or pop-out windows. Additionally, leading retailers didn’t limit assistance only to the help section. They provide customers with in-context help, such as definitions for terms that customers may not be familiar with and password requirements during the account enrollment process.

For more information on our findings from this year’s Forrester Digital Experience Review™ on US retail mobile sites, check out the full report here, or get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more about how Forrester can help you assess and improve your digital experience.