Yum Brands exec dishes on why responsive design makes sense
October 30, 2013
KFC goes mobile-first
LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ – A Yum Brands executive at the Mobile Shopping Fall Summit said that the company is betting big on responsive design to keep up with the company’s hefty number of international markets to not only keep development costs low, but also to roll out specific content for different groups of consumers.
During the “Hotseat: Responsive Design: Where Are We Headed And Does It Make Sense For Your Organization” session, executives from Marriott International and Yum Brands spoke about the challenges that both brands are currently going through as they roll out responsive designed sites. The session was moderated by Joelle Kaufman, head of marketing and partnerships at BloomReach, Mountain View, CA.
“For us, responsive made a lot of sense because we had to be mobile-first from day one for our emerging markets and cost was a factor – we didn’t want to develop content and development costs, especially when you’re talking 119 markets,” said Sunil Patel, manager of international Web and mobile ecommerce at Yum Brands, Louisville, KY.
“There is a longer QA cycle, which is a small trade-off,” he said.
Yum Brands is in the process of rolling out responsive sites at a global level for 119 Pizza Hut and KFC markets.
One of the reasons why Yum Brands went the responsive route is that since prices and promotions change regularly, a native approach does not make sense because it requires consumers to constantly download new content.
Right now, only the ordering portion of sites are developed with responsive design, and the goal is to eventually roll out the technology across the marketing sites for the brands as well.
Part of the challenge of responsive design from Yum Brands is that it can be difficult to roll out company-wide initiatives across independently-owned franchsies.
Responsive design has also generated quite a bit of backlash from marketers since content is not developed for specific platforms, and the brand has learned a few things about what does not work for cross-screen content.
For example, images can be challenging if they are not designed responsively to roll out on mobile, tablet and desktop devices.
The sites are also designed with some intuitive mobile initiatives such as swiping with tiles. Mobile users understand the feature, but desktop users do not understand how to access content by clicking on tiles.
Mr. Patel also said that location-based services have been received better by mobile users than desktop users.
With the growth of new devices and new screen sizes, the Yum Brands exec acknowledged that as traditional Web usage tapers off, the Web will evolve to be less PC-based and more multi-device focused.
Book on mobile
Marriott is another brand going through a digital redesign as part of a broader digital revamp for the brand.
Compared to Yum Brands’ rationale, Marriott decided to go the responsive way simply to build a service for the future, according to Jim Abramson, senior director of mobile and digital product management at Marriott, Bethesda, MD.
The brand has also placed a big emphasis on creating a responsive site as a way to educate the entire organization about mobile, meaning that if employees want to add or remove features from the site, they have to have data to back it up.
“Mobile has grown up in this second vertical, but in order for mobile to be successful in I suspect all of our companies, everybody has to be knowledgeable about mobile,” Mr. Abramson said.
“Everyone needs to have mobile in their job title – to operations – not just in ecommerce and across the board, that’s what our customer demand, that’s what we have to understand,” he said.
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York
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