by Caitlin Edwards
It’s a triathlon out there in mobile land, with brands struggling to one-up the competition any way they can, whether it’s with a killer mobile site, a great ad campaign, or a really entertaining viral video.
In honor of the London 2012 Olympics, we’ve decided to highlight some of the more well-known sponsor rivalries to determine who is ahead in the mobile race, and who’s falling behind.
Visa v. MasterCard
Here’s an example of two well-matched competitors, each with a mobile website that offers users great functionality. First up, Visa.
The Visa site wisely asks users to choose their desired experience up front, whether they’d like to explore card options, discounts, or request assistance. The discounts area of the site is a smart offering to mobile users, who are potentially shopping on-the-go and in need of a quick deal. The “Assistance” button leads to a smooth customer service user flow, asking the mobile visitor if they need help with a lost or stolen card, or if they’d like to contact their bank with easy click-to-call links. Overall, Visa offers a very professional mobile website that was clearly created with mobile behavior in mind.
MasterCard isn’t giving up without a fight, with a similarly well-designed mobile website that offers users both product information and easy-to-access support. Unlike Visa, MasterCard also makes an effort to tie social media into their mobile website, offering the familiar Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook chicklets at the bottom of every page. Based on their 480,000 “Likes” on Facebook, you can see that social plays a big role in their mobile strategy. Finally, by offering a simple and expandable FAQ section under the “Support” tab, MasterCard makes it even easier for users to quickly solve problems on-the-go without needing to call for information. It’s these little differentiators that put MasterCard in the lead.
Winner: MasterCard (but only by a nose)
Coke v. Pepsi
We were pretty surprised by Coke’s less-than-stellar mobile experience, especially because it appears they haven’t updated their mobile site since last year’s Super Bowl. Add in some broken images and no real mobile site navigation to speak of, it’s a disappointing show for this big-name brand. Since Coca-Cola is one of the 2012 Olympic sponsors, we’re even more surprised that they didn’t step up their game, or at least update their site!
However, when we checked out Pepsi, we discovered they don’t even offer a mobile website! Their desktop site may be pretty cool, but it’s very difficult to see and navigate on a small smartphone screen.
All things considered, it was a fairly weak competition to cover. Coca-Cola definitely doesn’t deserve to win the gold (or silver for that matter), but with Pepsi’s complete lack of a mobile experience, it’s a win by default.
Adidas v. Nike
What would an Olympics-themed mobile blog article be without two of the largest sporting goods suppliers in the world? Adidas is one of the London 2012 Olympic Partners, so we checked out their mobile site first.
The Adidas mobile website has a distinctly app-like feel, with an easy-to-use search bar, store locator feature, and a pretty intense list of navigation buttons at the bottom of the homepage (we were surprised they opted for the “Stack O’ Buttons” technique for such a large e-commerce site). The ability for users to log into their Adidas account directly from the mobile site is definitely a plus, and necessary for any mobile transactions. Finally, their sortable product listing makes it easy for users to quickly navigate to the polyester tracksuit of their dreams, all without breaking a sweat.
Nike, on the other hand… is a bit confusing. Visiting www.Nike.com on your smartphone lands you on their desktop homepage, even though we were sure there had to be a mobile site somewhere. For a company that has found great success in mobile with the Nike+ iPhone app, not having a mobile site would be surprising (to say the least). After digging around a little, we discovered store.nike.com – a mobile-optimized version of their NikeStore. An automatic redirect would come in handy at this point. Their mobile storefront also includes a friendly search bar and a “Shop by Category” navigation system, however the overall look and feel of the site pales in comparison to the Adidas mobile site. Add in the fact that mobile users aren’t automatically redirected to this optimized browsing experience, and it looks like Nike is struggling to stay in the race.
Omega v. Rolex
Forget Disney World, Olympic athletes fresh off a gold medal win want to treat themselves with a shiny new timepiece. We’re pitting high-end watchmakers Omega and Rolex against one another to prove who deserves all the mobile glory.
Omega offers a very clean, user-friendly interface that highlights their watches, however we were discouraged to see that all of the navigation is hidden below content on the bottom of every page. Users are forced to scroll all the way to the bottom in order to navigate around the site or to use the site search feature. Happily, we discovered there’s an entire section of the mobile site dedicated to their sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics, including interactive videos and interesting brand histories. Mobile users love video, so this was a wise move on the part of the watchmaker.
Rolex understands that mobile users also love added features like gamification and personalization, and their mobile site does not disappoint. Along with a clean UI and stunning full-screen images of their watches, Rolex also offers a fun section titled “May We Suggest A Watch?” that poses a series of targeted questions to narrow down the user’s watch preferences. In the end, the user is presented with a series of watches that best match their own personal style. However, after all of this personalization, we’re surprised the mobile site doesn’t offer social sharing for users to show off their new favorite wristwatch. This seems rather short-sighted on the part of Rolex. In the end, the Rolex site offers a smoother browsing experience with an emphasis on using the smartphone’s entire screen to showcase their beautiful watches.
Winner: Rolex (in a photo finish)
Surprised by these results? Let us know what brands you’re rooting for during the 2012 Olympic Games in the comments section.