Mobile takeaways: Understanding user behaviour for better cross-device experiences

Raisa Cuevas, Eva Menger / December 2020
Mobile takeaways: Understanding user behaviour for better cross-device experiences

Mobile phones have dramatically changed the way we live. From interacting with friends and consuming media to shopping habits and simply getting around; these pocket-sized devices aren’t just another material possession — they brought about a revolution.

That’s why for global online delivery platform Just Eat Takeaway.com the topic is always top of mind. “Winning on mobile isn’t a priority, but the starting point of every conversation we have,” says director of product Brenno Misuraca.

If it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t work at all.

But for some businesses, mobile still isn’t high on the priority list. Why is this so, and why should they be rethinking their business strategy to give mobile the attention it deserves?

Mobile conversion myths

Whether it’s a case of short-term thinking or a lack of knowledge and expertise, for some businesses finding success on mobile is still a challenging endeavour. In Misuraca’s view, a lot of the time it’s simply down to a lack of investment. “Some companies don’t invest in mobile because they still believe it doesn’t convert,” he explains. “But a lack of mobile conversions is almost always caused by a bad user experience (UX), so it’s kind of a vicious cycle.”

Striving towards a flawless mobile experience should thus be the goal for any business, and according to Misuraca, positive changes will automatically follow: “It’s a mindset,” he explains. “You shouldn’t consider a transformation from desktop to mobile, but start with the latter. If it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t work at all.”

That’s not to say that desktop users aren’t taken into account at Takeaway; quite the contrary, the product team sees it as their job to make sure customers get an optimal experience regardless of the device they use.

A mobile phone turning into a tablet turning into a laptop on rotation. On the screen, someone browses food, then selects a pizza, puts it in the basket, and pays.

Exceed customer expectations

“Mobile transformations can be particularly tricky as they necessitate customers to change their behaviour and mindset, which is hard for brands to achieve without coming across as pushy,” says Misuraca. “We were lucky in that respect; getting customers to use a mobile app to order food required less of a shift as they were already used to call restaurants.”

A lack of mobile conversions is almost always caused by a bad user experience.

Still, it shows how crucial it is to have an understanding of where users are active and how they prefer to engage. “Quantitative data on what the user is doing, UX research on why the user is doing that; all of this is vital,” says Misuraca. “On average, approximately 85% of food orders across our markets are on mobile, so we only go where the user goes.”

One of the areas Takeaway has been working on is the checkout experience. “Our customers are generally happy with the service we provide, but as they become more online savvy, they expect more choice when it comes to payment and checkout options — one of the toughest nuts to crack when it comes to mobile,” Misuraca admits.

To get honest feedback, the delivery platform had its own employees use its app by giving them weekly allowances. The results? A fully optimised checkout experience and a scaled qualitative approach. Now, the platform is equipped with a new in-house research team dedicated to understanding user behaviour and empowering product teams to keep exceeding customer expectations.

A forward-looking approach

Knowing that it would give them an edge over their competitors, Takeaway was planning for mobile as early as 2007, before smartphones were widely adopted. “The biggest challenge then was that most of our users didn’t own smartphones yet, nor did they know they wanted one,” says Misuraca. “There’s a famous Dutch video from the late nineties in which people are asked to share their thoughts on mobile phones, and the general consensus was that they didn’t see the point.”

This animated gif visualises the evolution of mobile phones through 4 different types of mobile phones ranging from old to new.

That may be different now, but it does illustrate the hurdles early adopting companies have to jump through. “When you launch something and it doesn’t work, is it because it’s a bad idea or because the market isn’t ready yet? That’s a question we continuously ask ourselves,” Misuraca explains. “It makes innovation harder, but we’ve always reaped rewards from it in the end. In the beginning, users didn’t expect us to provide such a strong mobile experience, but they found out that they liked it, and orders kept coming in.”

Remember where you want to be

While changing strategy or rethinking the user experience might be necessary for winning on mobile, every business is different, and, according to Misuraca, you shouldn't lose sight of your original goals. “It’s important to remember where you want to be, even if the journey changes course,” he says. “No matter how big you get, you have to stay flexible to reach your destination.”

Mobile transformations can be particularly tricky as they necessitate customers to change their behaviour and mindset.

This kind of attitude meant that the delivery platform was able to have successful mergers and migrations even though such steps tend to be incredibly difficult, and often unsuccessful. “I’m most proud of our ability to keep innovating and launch new products while embarking on massive undertakings such as mergers,” says Misuraca. “Sometimes it even brings us opportunities; expanding to France allowed us to trial Google Sign-In for the first time.” UX was a priority for the company ever since they started in early 2000, and they’ve been able to maintain that focus throughout their growth.

When asked for his top three tips for mobile success, Misuraca lists them readily: “Stay flexible and dynamic. Know where your future lies but keep in mind that it can change. And add value to everything you do.” Some valuable advice for any business looking to get the most out of mobile — and who wouldn’t want to do that? After all, mobile devices are an indispensable part of our lives now, just like food delivery.

Mobile Heroes: Geir Jangås, vice president of digital analytics, Telia Norway