The customer satisfaction gap between mobile and the more traditional retail websites is narrowing, according to new research.
The findings, from Analytics firm ForeSee’s latest mobile shopping report and revealed that customers are finding mobile retail sites easier to use, and are beginning to catch desktop ecommerce sites in terms of usability.
The research, carried out across nearly 10,000 surveys, examined satisfaction scores from visitors to 40 of the largest (as defined by the IMRG) UK mobile online retail websites, apps and tablets in the UK. It serves to investigate the impact mobile shopping has had on those retailers, and provides valuable insight on how UK shoppers are using their mobiles to browse, research and purchase goods.
Key research findings:
1. Mobile satisfaction versus traditional websites – Retail mobile experiences still slightly trail traditional online retail websites with regard to customer satisfaction, however the gap is narrowing. Customer satisfaction with traditional online retail websites in the UK scored a 74 on the study’s 100-point scale, up from one point last year, and mobile experiences ranked slightly lower with 72—but a commendable two-point increase from last year.
Implication: Consumers who use their mobile devices to engage and transact with companies are fairly happy doing so, and if a company is not providing a mobile experience, then it is missing out on a growing segment of customers that could otherwise make purchases and recommendations.
2. Multiple device shopping – Most consumers (87 per cent) are still using their home computer (or PC) as the main device with which to shop online, but one in five shoppers are using either a mobile phone or smartphone or a tablet device to access a retailer’s website, mobile site or mobile app. Mobile phone users are also more satisfied with their experience than home computer users are (77 vs. 74).
Implication: Businesses need to measure satisfaction accurately across the multiple touch points that shoppers are now using to interact with them. They especially need to be prepared for the increasing use of tablet devices, which are emerging as a preferred way for users to shop.
3. An increase in popularity of “showrooming” (where customers visit a store to look at the merchandise in person, but then shop online—often via mobile—to get a better price through a competitor) – Forty per cent of the mobile users measured reported using their mobile phone while in a retail store; however, it isn’t always to check price comparison sites or competitors—many shoppers are using mobiles to check that company’s own website. However, it is true that there is a smaller, less satisfied group of mobile shoppers who are accessing a competitor’s site or app whilst in store.
Implication: Showrooming isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Stores have an opportunity to keep their customers by providing a better mobile experience for them, but to do that, they must understand the needs of their own multichannel customer. If a mobile and/or store experience doesn’t meet expectations, customers will go somewhere else.
What do shoppers use mobile sites for and are they satisfied? As a whole, users who accessed mobile sites or apps to make a purchase and/or compare products are highly satisfied. More than half of the respondents used a mobile site or app to look up price information and 32 per cent compared products.
Implication: By understanding how mobile shoppers are using their phones and tablets, retailers can decide what kind of functionality to prioritise and improve the experience for customers.
“It’s plain and simple: companies that are not measuring the mobile customer experience are operating in the dark. It’s time to turn on the lights,” said Larry Freed, CEO at ForeSee. “Measuring mobile satisfaction is no longer an add-on for companies to consider. Phones and tablets are an integral nexus of online traffic and serve as companion channels to virtually every other customer touch point.”
ForeSee’s Senior Director of Mobile, Media and Entertainment Eric Feinberg added: “The mobile revolution is here and these companies—even the largest and best at what they do—cannot afford to waste time, effort and resources making poor decisions when it comes to managing their mobile experiences.
“Mobile is drastically changing the way today’s multichannel, multidevice consumers are viewing and engaging with companies and business leaders can ill-afford to stand idle and watch the opportunity go by. If they measure mobile (and do it well) their customers will do most of the heavy lifting in helping them to create a successful mobile experience. They will help to identify the purpose of the visit, show you their likely next step, and tell you their location and the devices they use. They will also tell you what is working, what isn’t, and what they would like to be able to do with your mobile experience. All you have to do is ask them.”