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)
Graham Charlton

Published 8 April, 2011 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

You might be interested in

Comments (10)

Save or Cancel
Tim Watson

Tim Watson, Email Marketing Consultant at Zettasphere

Hello Graham, its seems there is a fresh report every day about mobile, its importance and its growth. The figures are moving so fast.

We have seen a doubling of email activity on mobile in the last 12 months. Its certainly becoming necessary to ensure your email campaigning has mobile considered, but as your post highlights, if you click through and fail, its all for nothing.

We have a free webinar planned next week with the DMA which talks to the question on slide 14 of the Tealeaf slides "How do marketing and promotional efforts like email marketing...affect this behaviour across channels?"


over 7 years ago



I coudn't agree more on this. At Movylo Shop (www.movyloshop.com) we're seeing that merchants are worried about mainly 2 things:
1) how to present thei product on mobile
2) how to make money out of it.

1) is of course complex, but 2) is definetely the hottest point and requires to be "mobile minded". Mobile commerce is not e-com in a small screen, but too often is confused...

over 7 years ago

Igor Faletski

Igor Faletski, CEO at Mobify

As a user, I'll definitely choose a mobile experience that's easier than desktop, every time. For a retailer that means trying to get as close to one-click checkout on mobile as possible in order to be successful.

Not really sure where 20% credit card decline rate comes from!

over 7 years ago


Sarah Evans

Hi Graham,

This analysis is spot on and reflects our own research here at O2. We have recently launched a mobile version of the O2 desktop site in the belief that a better experience will lead to higher conversions and happier customers.

User engagement via mobile is increasing all the time and delivering some unique experiences that pull together on and offline worlds. As a result, mobile is core to any multi-channel strategy and our recent launch is just one step in that direction. Its important to launch, learn, improve and iterate... It's no longer good enough to just offer good desktop experiences; for many customers a great mobile experience is just as, if not more, important.

over 7 years ago


Craig Sullivan, Customer Experience Manager at Belron International

Yep - agreed. Making a great mobile experience isn't hard or expensive - you just have to know the handset, the context and the usage. For us, customers are searching and then want an optimised mobile experience.

In all the countries where we've launched, traffic is now 10-20% of our TOTAL online business. We're delighted and will be sharing some of the good and easy things you can to to drive conversion.

over 7 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Igor - I think that decline rate may be due to input errors or dropped connections.

over 7 years ago


Andy Hopkinson, Industrial Placement - Marketing Communications at Mercedes-Benz UK

Hi Graham, does these mobile figures come from retailer sites? Or is this including app purchases and in-app purchases as well?

over 7 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi Andy, the research covers apps and mobile sites. I'm not sure if it covers in-app purchases like subscriptions though.

over 7 years ago

Keith Brown

Keith Brown, Managing Director at paythru

While the survey clearly shows that shoppers are starting to trust mobile technology enough to make purchases over their mobiles and tablets, it’s crucial that mobile sites offer a frictionless and highly secure payment process.

Mobile shoppers generally want to make impulse buys or last minute purchases, and are not going to be very forgiving if the site is playing up, or if they come up against unexpected spending limits. It’s not very surprising that 66% would be less likely to buy from the retailer via other channels when that retailer has already provided them with a negative experience.

Retailers need to understand that mobile shoppers expect the same level of service and security that they receive online - combined with the convenience of being able to shop anytime and anywhere - or they risk being left behind by those that have a greater appreciation of consumer expectation.

over 7 years ago


Maurice Bernier

Anyone who does any kind of business online should read this material. Without proper site optimization for mobile, publishers are throwing money and clients out the window at a rapid pace. This is made obvious just by watching the growing trends of mobile versus desktop/laptop shoppers.

Keith also makes an excellent point I hadn't thought of about payment processes. Thanks for that Keith and thank you Graham for this fine research!


almost 7 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.