I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day, loyalty card in-hand, when I saw an image of a mobile phone on a nearby display. On it was printed, “Access Your Gift Cards – anytime, anywhere” (I’m really tired of companies who have anything at all to do with mobile using ‘anytime, anywhere’. In this case, there’s a picture of a mobile phone. I get it.) Then there was a picture of a phone with a few logos on the screen such as Best Buy and Safeway (the store in which I was standing). At first I thought it was suggesting I could load my Safeway card onto the phone, probably because I was actually holding my card.
I was going to try it (or at least get the app – I didn’t have any gift cards at the time) and impulsively reached for my phone to scan the QR code. But in a brief moment of disbelief that quickly turned into disappointment I found no code to scan. There was a URL for gowallet.com but it was my turn in line and I had to pay for my things. I had enough time to scan a code and that was it.
After checking out I looked for an empty check-out isle and found the same sign. I opened the browser on my phone and tapped in gowallet.com. After several seconds and a bit of forced patience (is it that hard to make a mobile site that loads fast?) I was offered the following on my screen:
Eh? This can’t be happening. This is a full web site! What am I supposed to do with this? Arrrgh..
What could have saved this experience/campaign?
This multi-level fail needs a lot of work to make it a good mobile experience. It’s surprising that a service that has mobile at its heart is so un-friendly to the mobile user. Let’s start at the top.
1) Call-to-Action – Even with the questions about the long-term viability of QR codes this would have been the place to have one. For those who know what to do with a QR code it is simply the fastest way to create a connection with the mobile user. Just putting the URL is not enough. Opening a browser and tapping in URL - even a relatively simple one - is not as fast as scanning a 2D barcode.
2) Mobile Web – The GoWallet web site, whether someone tapped or scanned to get there, MUST be made mobile-friendly. If for some reason the site can’t be made friendly at least create a landing page that briefly describes the service and allows the mobile user to easily show some initial interest (no-one will complete registration from their phone) by entering their email address or linking to a download of the mobile app.
3) Promote the App – Using basic device detection it is relatively simple to re-direct mobile phones to the mobile app in the appropriate app store. Then, tell them more about the app and the overall service once they are there and only one tap away from a download. Don’t make mobile users read a detailed web site and then hunt around for the link to get the app. Take them to the app, get them to download and walk them through the process.