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Does Size Really Matter? Christoph Luetke Schelhowe

Insight: Does Size Really Matter?

2016-03-31 14:45

Christoph Luetke Schelhowe, VP of Customer Experience at Zalando, reiterates the importance of the customer experience in the wake of Apple's newest mobile devices.

Apple recently unveiled two new devices that are smaller in size than their recent releases, but still pack a punch software-wise. The iPhone SE and new iPad Pro represent a changing device trend, where bigger isn’t always better. A flurry of Android offerings echoing this sentiment could soon follow, confirming that a smaller device may fast become preferred amongst mobile customers. What does this mean for the world of m-commerce?

While the grounds for wanting a smaller sized smartphone are reflective of financial and preferential reasons, it’s worth exploring how the customer experience will be affected by this change. For example, more than 60% of Zalando customers visit the Fashion Store from mobile devices, while Alibaba have recorded an 86% share of China's mobile shopping market. Amazon is also popular amongst the smartphone crowd: 49% of their customers are now on mobile. With the iPhone SE featuring a 4-inch Retina display, how will the smaller screen affect the way customers browse and shop?

It's about engagement

Customer experience is all about attraction, awareness, and advocacy. It isn't hard to join the dots between the numbers above to see that all three of these traits are exhibited by customers through their increasing use of mobile devices. Where the likes of Zalando, Alibaba, and Amazon fit into this equation is how they capture the already alluring mobile trend and engage these users.

Will an iPhone SE or new iPad Pro customer have a different browsing and shopping experience on sites such as Zalando? They’ll still be connected via impressive software, plus better CPU and GPU performance. With both devices featuring better display functionality than their similarly-sized counterparts, we’ll be making sure that the look and feel of apps on mobile remain a stimulating practice. Apple customers are excited about these two new releases, and excited customers give us the opportunity to interact with them in new ways. Seamless apps open up the next level of engagement for users of fashion platforms: New modes of navigation coupled with social sharing and user-generated content allows customers to contribute to the way they want their mobile shopping experience to be. The power should be in their hands. How customers interact with a company's platform can't be dictated by the size of their device.

"Mobile-first crucial in 2016"

What can fashion lovers expect from companies like Zalando, Alibaba, and Amazon with this upcoming trend of smaller devices? For us, creating mobile-first experiences will be crucial in 2016 and we now consider mobile to be a core strategic component for every step of the shopping lifecycle. Companies need to be iterating strong ideas into great solutions and always putting the customer first. As the likelihood of browsing via a smartphone or tablet increases, so too will the amount of mobile payment opportunities, as the support for Apple Pay suggests. When a customer is mobile, factors such as time, location and situation need to be adapted in order to fulfill their shopping needs.

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The bottom line is, how companies look at the customer journey should not change with the onset of Apple’s new devices, but it does signal a realisation that e-commerce companies have long held true: The customer comes first, and their desires matter most. Emerging markets are longing for a smartphone and tablet solution that's affordable, while other customers purely want a smaller device.

"Up to companies to keep up pace"

The new Apple iPhone SE and iPad Pro addresses these concerns without sacrificing quality, while shoppers can still have fun browsing apps. With the improved functionality of these new Apple devices, customers will be swiping, saving, and clicking on fashionable content as easily as if they were using their desktop computer.

Companies, like ours, need to be ready to welcome iPhone SE and iPad Pro users with open arms and a mobile-first approach, otherwise we risk alienating a huge chunk of the market. Smaller devices won't slow down the progress of m-commerce, and it's down to companies like Zalando to keep up the pace.

Christoph Luetke Schelhowe

VP of Customer Experience at Zalando

VP of Customer Experience and former Regional Head of Western & Eastern Europe at Zalando. Christoph has also woked as Associate Principal at McKinsey.

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