Mobile user journey study: Product discovery a major barrier to sales

Mar 22, 2018 | E-commerce and E-retailing, Mobile

Weak mobile performance for brands was found to be directly linked to poor product discovery, rather than mobile payments, according to a new study looking into the mobile user journey.

The study, from Qubit. demonstrates the real impact of mobile on digital revenue. Sampled from 1.2 billion customer journeys, finding that mobile product discovery can impact digital revenue by 33 percent.

Additional key stats

  • 67 percent of consumers cite payment methods not being a significant barrier to purchasing on mobile
  • 48 percent of consumers find buying and discovering products directly from brands’ mobile sites, frustrating
  • The majority (57 percent) of consumers cited that their favourite mobile shopping websites make an effort to personalise the experience to preferences and interests
  • At the end of 2017 mobile accounted for double the traffic of laptop and desktop computers
  • Mobile-influenced sales increased 93 percent YOY when comparing 2016 and 2017 data
  • A focus on mobile product discovery can impact digital sales by up to 33 percent
  • 67 percent of consumers say payment methods are not a barrier to purchasing on mobile
  • Qubit Aura, a mobile product discovery solution can help consumers discover 2.25x more products

[Additionally, a survey of more than 4,000 consumers explains the reasons for weak mobile performance, despite the channel becoming the number one place consumers now engage with brands. Product discovery, and not the intricacy of mobile payment, has become the key challenge that ecommerce companies can fix in order to unlock revenue on mobile and digital channels.

“Everyone knows the importance of mobile, but this report proves that retailers are missing the bigger story,” said Graham Cooke, CEO of Qubit. “Our research has shown that a focus on mobile product discovery can impact digital revenue by up to 33 percent. Mobile is clearly providing a halo effect on multiple channels so retailers need to look at this in the context of how people discover a product catalog. We’re making significant investments in AI-powered product discovery for mobile because we see real uplift opportunity across a fragmented shopping journey that’s only connected through a mobile device.”

Digging into Qubit data of 1.2 billion ecommerce journeys further, the company found that:

  • An investment in mobile benefits other channels—improving product discovery doesn’t just benefit mobile conversion, it has a mean observable impact of 19 percent on digital sales, increasing to an average of 24 percent in fashion. Mobile-influenced sales increased 93 percent in 2017, compared to 2016, with some retailers receiving as many as one in three computer transactions as a result of mobile browsing.
  • Poor product discovery is the biggest barrier for mobile shoppers—better discovery experiences that engage customers for longer and help them to explore more of the catalog result in increased returns. The analysis showed clear, significant correlations between revenue, catalog size and catalog explorability.
  • Transactions on mobile face a dramatic drop off as consumers move through the customer journey—customers are proven to be more engaged on mobile than on computers in the discovery phase of the shopping journey. However, as the consumer moves through the mobile journey, session engagement sees a dramatic drop off. This highlights that customers can find products on mobile, but they aren’t finding what they want.

“Netflix recommendations, a Spotify playlist, or the Instagram feed provide a model for how people expect to discover on mobile,” said Simon Jaffery, product director at Qubit. “All of these are AI-powered, based on consumer preferences, context and intent. Our research identifies that ecommerce businesses have an opportunity to increase revenue across all channels by creating mobile experiences that help their customers discover more of their catalog.”

Qubit data shows that during 2017, across 73 retail websites in the EMEA and the United States, there were more than 78 million products a consumer could choose from. This demonstrates a ‘paradox of choice’ and the need for retailers to focus on relevancy and discovery now more than ever. Qubit’s research was backed up by a consumer survey of more than 4,000 respondents, which revealed:

  • 67 percent of consumers cite payment methods not being a significant barrier to purchasing on mobile.
  • Consumers in the U.K. and U.S. cite that when discovery on mobile isn’t frustrating they will buy through the channel
  • Respondents were asked to rank the factors most likely to encourage a purchase on mobile. Ranking order was as follows:
    • 47 percent – if there was a faster or easier browsing experience
    • 44 percent – if finding exactly what I wanted was easier
    • 35 percent – if discovering new products that I liked was easier
    • 33 percent – if it was easier to pay
  • 48 percent of consumers agree or strongly agree that they find buying and discovering products directly from brands’ mobile sites is frustrating.
  • Consumers are more likely to use their mobile devices for browsing and inspiration (61 percent) than for purchasing specific items (58 percent).
  • The majority (57 percent) of consumers cited that their favorite mobile shopping websites make an effort to personalize the experience to preferences and interests.

Tim MacIvor, Head of Customer Experience at the international retail brand River Island said, “We have well over 50% of our traffic coming from mobile devices now. At River Island, we pride ourselves on being the perfect place to find everything you need for a brand new head-to-toe look therefore it’s essential that we make it easy for our shoppers to find what they’re looking for while browsing on our mobile site.”

Mobile has been growing faster than any other channel, and in 2017 hit an inflection point, where Qubit data showed traffic to mobile surpassed computer for first time. This trend, coupled with a consistent shortfall in mobile conversion, is one of the first opportunities in ecommerce that Qubit is using AI to solve.

Armed with consumer insights, unrivalled access to ecommerce data, and a best-in-class technology, Qubit launched their first AI-powered product for retailers, Qubit Aura, in the fall of 2017. The solution sits on top of an existing mobile website and as each visitor browses, the product instantly creates a tailored product feed based on their behavior. Using Qubit Aura, visitors can discover products based on their preferences, context and intent rather than a ‘one size fits all’ search or hamburger navigation. Using Qubit Aura, ecommerce companies see an average of 2.25x more products exposed to shoppers in the discovery phase.

A full copy of the report can be found here.

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