Mobile shopping experiences aren’t quite up to snuff

Industry Insight

Many retailers across the world have begun to shift gears in response to changing shopping behaviors. With more consumers using a mix of mobile devices, the Internet and brick-and-mortar locations to purchase goods, merchants have begun to integrate all of these channels into a single, all-inclusive “omnichannel” shopping experience. If you think about it, the approach makes sense – if customers are using this wide swath of channels, you should also be leveraging these platforms to engage them.

However, one new study conducted by Skava, called ” The Skava Mobile Shopping Survey,” found that retailers may not be creating a satisfactory shopping experience for customers who prefer mobile devices. As many as 71 percent of smartphone owners have admitted to doing some sort of shopping experience on their handsets, but 88 percent of those customers also reported experiencing issues that soured their outlook on the channel.

In fact, one-third of those respondents (30 percent) said they would never return to that retailer’s mobile website again due to the difficulties with shopping and buying goods through it. Even among those willing to give merchants a second chance, 29 percent said they wouldn’t do so for six months. Perhaps even more devastating, as many as 33 percent even said they would defect to a competitor after a terrible mobile shopping experience.

Common complaints raised by shoppers include navigational difficulties, security concerns, long and arduous checkout processes, concerns with data usage, difficulties with redeeming coupon codes and issues with mobile website speed. On top of that, some customers believe that mobile purchases are more expensive due to perceived fees. Some are also concerned with accidentally tapping the wrong buttons and mis-buying items.

“The sudden rise in the number of visitors accessing retailers’ websites from mobile took many retailers by surprise and they quickly created a mobile website as a first response, but the initial bounce rates were high and conversion rates low, leaving many retailers thinking that people didn’t have an appetite to buy from mobile,” he said.

Understanding the mobile experience
The wide swathe of complaints levied at mobile shopping illustrate a number of critical factors that should be setting warning flags off in your head.

First and foremost, design is important when creating your mobile shopping site. Excessive use of rich media, such as animated images or video, can be pretty to look at, but slow down the browsing experience and needlessly consumes shoppers’ data plans. On top of that, confusing layouts that hinder the convenience of mobile shopping are also major detractors. You need to realize that customers use mobile platforms for different reasons than standard websites. Whereas flashy layouts may work on the Web, mobile shoppers want to be in and out. You’re design team should be using a responsive design approach which will provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).

Another leading issue is the fact that many merchants haven’t actually integrated their shopping experiences across platforms. Obstacles such as the inability to redeem coupons across channels or prices mismatches between different platforms shouldn’t be an issue if you’re utilizing eCommerce software such as SalesWarp that allows you to manage your eCommerce operations regardless of channel.

The third and final set of issues touched by this study could be boiled down to customer misconception. Smartphones are still relatively recent inventions and as such, consumers have a lot of baseless fears. For instance, while shopper security is obviously important, most retailers have done everything their power to maximize security. They wouldn’t put out a mobile website or app full of vulnerabilities or else they’d lose their customers’ trust and would probably even face a lawsuit. In that regard, it’s pivotal that merchants convey this to their shoppers, underlining how safe it is for them to use retail apps and websites.