Mobile Shopping Report: Retailers Fall Short of Consumers’ Expectations

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Wellesley, MA—While Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2012 proved that mobile commerce is growing steadily, new research reveals that the top 20 brick-and-mortar retail brands still fall short of consumers’ expectations for fast, well-designed and functional mobile apps and websites.

According to Mobiquity’s Mobile Shopping Satisfaction Report, an independent consumer study, found that, of the top 20 retailers, the mobile experience at Apple Stores, Best Buy and Kohl’s ranked highest for satisfaction among consumers shopping via smartphones and tablets.

Perhaps more troubling is the fact the study also revealed that these retailers’ apps and mobile sites are often slow to load, challenging to navigate and error-prone at checkout.

To find out what consumers think about top retailers’ mobile sites, Mobiquity, a professional services firm creating innovative mobile solutions and apps that drive business value, commissioned Equation Research to survey 1,000 smartphone and tablet owners about their mobile shopping experiences during the last six months at the top 20 brick-and-mortar retailers according to STORES.

Key findings from the research included:

●Satisfaction is strong: Apple Stores, Best Buy and Kohl’s scored the highest for delivering satisfying mobile shopping experiences, followed by Target, Walmart, CVS, Sears, Lowe’s and Macy’s.

 ●Unsatisfactory mobile shopping experienced directly impacts brand loyalty and future revenues: 41% of smartphone owners and 43% of tablet owners claimed that they would be less likely to shop at a retailer if they had a poor experience using their mobile app or mobile website.

User experience and technical performance of retailers’ mobile apps and sites need work: Among those that had unsatisfactory experiences, slow to load apps and mobile websites were the chief culprit, the study found.

Half complained that smartphone apps were too slow and 67% said that tablet apps were also too slow. Additionally, 65% said that smartphone-accessed mobile websites were slow, compared to 45% who stated the same about tablet-accessed mobile websites.

●Navigation was an issue for both smartphone and tablet owners: 35% said smartphone apps were tough to navigate, compared to 24% of tablet apps. Additionally, 32% said navigation was problematic on smartphone mobile websites, rising to 39% for tablets. And, for 57% of tablet owners, the checkout process was complicated or did not work at all.

●Walmart is the brand most browsed and shopped via mobile devices: 28% of smartphone owners had browsed at Walmart, compared to 32% of tablet owners. Similarly, 23% used their smartphones to make a purchase from Walmart, while 24% used their tablets to transact. Target and Best Buy ranked second and third for smartphone purchasing, while Best Buy and Apple Stores ranked second and third for tablet purchasing.

●Consumers mix and match their paths to purchase: After browsing retailers’ mobile apps and mobile sites on their smartphones, 32% went on to complete their purchase in-store while 66% purchased through other channels (27% via smartphone, 20% via tablet, and 19% online via computer).

And after browsing retailers via their tablets, 33% went on to make the purchase on their tablet, 27% in-store, 21% on smartphones and 19% online via computer.

On the other hand, 41% percent purchased via their mobile devices after browsing in-store. Why? 32% cited cheaper prices as their motivation, 19% said the product was not in-stock and another 13% because lines at checkouts were too long.

“Today’s consumer has multiple paths to purchase and their mobile shopping experiences not only drive revenue through mobile channels, but also influence in-store and online sales,” said Andrew Hiser, chief creative officer at Mobiquity. “It is the retailer’s prerogative to build seamless and consistent offline, online and mobile shopping experiences, so that wherever and however the customer chooses to shop, it is a positive experience. Because so much of customer loyalty is tied to the brand experience, it’s key—especially during the holiday season where so much attention is being paid to mobile commerce—that retailers deliver the best possible mobile shopping experience and ensure the sale.”

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