23% of UK online consumers conducted some kind of mobile transaction last year, but unfortunately, 83% experienced a problem. 

The findings come from a survey commissioned by Tealeaf, which suggests that retailers need to work harder to match customer expectations of mobile commerce. 

Mobile commerce activities

63% have used their mobiles for shopping, 37% to conduct financial transactions, 34% for travel bookings, and 23% for insurance payments or purchases.

On average, mobile shoppers completed 4.4 transactions per month by mobile, with a more or less even split between app (43%) and mobile internet browser (41%).

Common problems encountered by mobile users

The study looked at the various problems encountered when users were making mobile transaction, and these go beyond mere issues, and suggest that mobile usability needs to improve. 

The most common issue was receiving error messages (34%), while 25% found apps or websites difficult to use, 25% had problems logging in, and 20% said their credit card wouldn’t go through. 

How do customers react to difficulties with mobile transactions? 

  • 29% would abandon the mobile transaction and try later on a computer. 
  • 16% would become more likely to buy from a competitor.
  • 17% would email or log a complaint with customer service. 
  • 13% would abandon the transaction at the app/site and try a competitor instead. 

Negative mobile experiences also have the potential to detract from other channels as well. 66% of respondents said they would be less likely to buy online or instore from a company if their mobile site caused them problems.

What do customers expect from mobile commerce? 

Though mobile commerce is still a relatively new channel, and many retailers in the UK (John Lewis, M&S, Tesco) have only launched sites or apps in the last 12 months, users’ expectations are high. 

Respondents said they expected mobile transactions to be easier than offline (51%) or on a desktop computer (50%). 

In the report, Tealeaf’s Geof Galat suggests that part of the problem is that, thanks to the intuitive user experience offered by iPhones and other mobile devices, their expectations of apps and sites are high. 

Other studies back this view up. For example, a recent eDigital benchmark study found that customers expect the same brand experience and product choice they would find on desktop sites, and they also expect the same features: images, product reviews, detailed information etc. 

What do retailers need to do? 

The report suggests five steps for retailers to improve customer experience on mobile sites, which include making a commitment to improving usability, understanding how mobile fits in with a multichannel strategy, and linking the channels together so that mobile customers can get help from staff. 

For more, see this post containing 25 essential mobile commerce tips, while we also have a detailed best practice guide on mobile commerce.

M-Commerce: The Final Frontier (of customer experience)