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.