The folks at Mobiquity recently released the results of research they commissioned from Equation Research, and the independent consumer study they released showed off the current state of mobile commerce. The news is not good overall, but there are some very clear winners when it comes to mobile shopping.
The Mobiquity study examined the top 20 retailers, and discovered that when it comes to overall customer satisfaction, the three best mobile shopping experiences come from Apple, Kohl's, and Best Buy. Further satisfactory experiences were yielded by several other firms, including retailers Wal-Mart, Macy's, Sears and Target, as well as home improvement giant Lowe's and pharmacy CVS. While not at the top of the food chain in terms of customer satisfaction, Wal-Mart represented the most browsed and shopped brand on mobile devices, with 28 percent of smartphone owners and 32 percent of tablet owners checking out the retailer.
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But there are significant problems with pretty much the entire mobile shopping experience, and even the top brands didn't escape without some measure of blame. Mobile shopping apps across the spectrum are described as "slow to load", "challenging to navigate" and even "error-prone at checkout". Even worse for the retailers was the revelation that a poor mobile shopping experience translated into less likelihood of purchase at even brick-and-mortar stores; 41 percent of smartphone owners and 43 percent of tablet owners said that they would be less likely to shop at a retailer, in seemingly any capacity, if they had a poor experience on a mobile app.
Strangest of all was the news that many customers will shop using a mobile app, but won't actually complete the purchase online, instead turning to the brick-and-mortar store location to finish the job. 32 percent of smartphone shoppers completed a purchase in-store, while 27 percent completed on a smartphone, 20 percent finished via a tablet, and 19 percent wrapped up on their computers. Tablet shoppers, meanwhile, (33 percent) pulled the trigger on the tablet, while 27 percent hit the actual store, 21 percent used a smartphone instead, and 19 percent went home to use their PCs. 41 percent of respondents who browsed in the stores actually went to the mobile devices to finish the purchase, with 31 percent saying it was cheaper online, 19 percent blaming stock shortages, and 13 percent wanting to avoid long lines at checkout counters.
Basically, for those who thought that mobile shopping could effectively take the place of brick-and-mortar store locations, it seems to not be the case as shoppers will use every tool in the toolbox in order to complete their shopping needs. Retailers therefore need to address every facet of the shopping experience--online, in-store, and mobile alike--to ensure that the fewest potential customers are lost due to bad experiences anywhere in the chain. A bad experience, no matter where it is--a rude sales clerk, a bungled checkout on a mobile phone or a crashed website--can mean lost customers for the entire brand, for good.
A soft economy puts a lot of power in customers' hands, and retailers need to do everything they can to keep customers on their side. That means shoring up the entire experience, and not just one part of it.
Edited by Brooke Neuman