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Just 4% of consumers find making purchases on their mobiles to be a hassle-free experience, with loading times and product display the biggest bugbears. 

The Brandbank M-commerce report is based on a YouGov survey of 2,255 UK consumers, and underlines the need for retailers to look at their mobile commerce offerings. 

Mobile commerce and smartphones

  • Just 21% of the consumers surveyed had smartphones, but 81% of these consumers had used their mobiles to help them shop, compared to just 15% of non-smartphone users. 
  • The most common way smartphone owners use their devices is in purchasing products online through their mobile browsers (47%). After this, 40% used mobiles to read product reviews and ratings online. 
  • 36% went to retailers' websites to find out additional information about products, 34% compared prices online, while 28% looked for nearby retail outlets.
  • 26% of smartphone users made purchases through mobile commerce apps they had previously downloaded. 

Usability problems for mobile shoppers 

The usabiiity problems cited by mobile shoppers demonstrate why retailers could benefit from having a mobile commerce site, since many of these problems are to do with viewing standard websites on a small screen. 

  • Even of the smartphone users, just 15% found mobile commerce to be a satisfactory experience, while 18% found it difficult and time-consuming. 
  • The most common irritation was having to zoom in and out to be able to view all of the information on the web page (47%), while waiting for images to load was a problem for 43% of consumers. 
  • In the payment process, the amount of input required (delivery addresses, card details etc) annoyed 38%, while 25% were deterred by the number of pages they had to click through to complete a purchase. 

Poor mobile experiences lead to churn

  • For 35% of consumers, a negative mobile commerce experience would mean they would look elsewhere for the product, 25% said they would try to reload pages once before giving up, while 25% said they would never go to that retailer’s website again on their mobile phone.

Lessons for retailers

Clearly, having a mobile website is well worth it, even if the proportion of mobile users shopping at the moment is relatively small, and retailers are catching on, with larger brands like M&S and Next having sites or apps. 

Sticking as closely as possible to best practice on mobiles is essential to make the experience as smooth as possible for users. A site that has been well optimised for mobiles will deal with many of the customer complaints outlined here; such as having to zoom in and out and waiting for pages to load. 

It's also essential to make the purchase process as smooth as possible, as this is where customers seem to be having difficulties. Retailers should keep the information required to a minimum, and only ask what is essential to complete the purchase.

For multichannel retailers with a mobile presence, the fact that consumers are using their mobiles to compare prices and look for nearby stores provides an opportunity to capture these mobile users and drive them in-store.  

Graham Charlton

Published 6 July, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

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Alex Sbardella

This report is positive reading for the app development community - given that even a basic app could alleviate the largest complaints, versus the need for a very well designed and optimised mobile site to do the same thing. Particularly with regard to loading times - a one off download of the offline catalogue is going to significantly improve the customer experience and is something a site, for all the cross-platform benefits, cannot do.

over 6 years ago

Christian Louca

Christian Louca, Founder - New Mobile Start-Up at Stealth Mode

@ Alex re: You cannot just look at apps and it is not just about downloading a catalogue.  To start with M-Commerce you need a mobile internet site specifically designed for all wap-enabled handsets.  This way the wider demographic can be reached and not just iPhone and Android users (as not many brands creative directors, marketing directors, agencies or developers even look at RIM, Microsoft or Symbian)!

This was they can integrate mobile into their traditionally media, driving awareness and traffic to their site without just targeting a small segment of the market made up by Android and Apple. Distribution and general awareness of the service is better achieved this way, which can integrated to include mobile search and mobile advertising.  The only way I would possibly flip this on its head is; if the retailer/brand knew that 100% of its demographic had iPhones or Android based phones, this I seriously doubt and even then I still would not just consider making a native app only offering.

over 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

I think that some of the problems mentioned by consumers in this survey; having to zoom in and out, waiting for images to load etc, are the result of viewing desktop websites on a mobile phone. 

This implies that customers are searching for these brands on their mobile browsers and finding that the retailer doesn't offer a mobile-specific site. This isn't a problem that apps will solve, but instead suggests that retailers should look at a mobile version of their sites, as M&S has done recently. 

This approach also caters for the widest possible audience and avoids risking the kinds of negative experiences mentioned in the survey. 

over 6 years ago

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Sophie Vu

Alex & Christian: I think it has to be about both a mobile website and a mobile application. As the post notes, it’s about capturing the most mobile users possible. I work with Kony Solutions (we offer a comprehensive mobile application platform that enables B2C companies to deliver a brand-consistent mobile presence across all mobile OSs) and I believe that the best way to get customers through the door is to give them the most options possible to interact with your brand (whether it’s a mobile website, mobile application or SMS message). The churn rates are also extremely important – companies have to work with a vendor that can create a sophisticated site that takes advantage of all of the available features rather than “dumbing down” the site or app to the lowest common denominator of devices. 

over 6 years ago

Christian Louca

Christian Louca, Founder - New Mobile Start-Up at Stealth Mode

Sophie:  Yes in the ideal world one would take this approach but in times likes these the reality of available budgets do not stretch to cover all possible angles. In fact, often a thorough mobile strategy has not even been established by the retailers/media owners and they just jump on the App bandwagon because of the hysteria.  This is why starting with a mobile internet site is a good approach to take.  Get your m-commerce site in-line with online and stop the bad user experience that your mobile customers are experiencing with the full fat site and instantly capitalise on additional revenues that are being lost through the mobile channel across multiple markets.  This then enables the retailers/media owners to redirect the traffic through search and integrate the channel into its traditional marketing comms plan.  This will produce an instant return on their investment, better ROI, hit the mass of their demographic and moving forward the revenues gained can be re-distributed into other mobile channels. This will not be achieved through launching an app.

over 6 years ago

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LuxTeam

Agree with Graham. I'd like to stress that the mobile commerce is growing very fast last years even despite of the economic downturn, and having a mobile version of the Web site is a must for retailers. It does significantly expands multichannel sales and helps with comparison shopping for clients on the go. Moreover, development of a mobile Website is not expensive at all. Most of the providers have such option as part of the solution anyway.

over 6 years ago

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tiffany Ohrringe

um ehrlich zu sein, versteh ich gar nichts und hab keine ahnung, wie ich das hinbekommen soll. habt ihr nicht eine schritt für schritt erklärung für dummies wie mich?

almost 6 years ago

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dan

Track your company or own mobile phones anywhere in the UK from as low as £1.47 per mobile per month - or as little as 16p per location

almost 6 years ago

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