Mobile transactions on the up but many consumers struggle

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10m consumers make mobile purchases

10m consumers make mobile purchases

More consumers are using mobiles to make online purchases but many experience problems, according to a survey commissioned by Tealeaf, a leader in online customer experience management (CEM) software.

The study, conducted by Harris Interactive, found 10m online consumers in the UK made a transaction using a mobile device in the last year but 83% of these experienced problems when conducting such mobile transactions.

Tealeaf said its research demonstrates consumers are increasingly expecting a faultless experience across all online channels, including mobile, with 75% of all online adults agreeing there is no reason why a mobile transaction can’t be completed on the first try.

This has a significant impact for brands, it says, because two thirds of shoppers say if they experienced a problem conducting a mobile transaction, they would be less likely to buy from the same company via other channels.

While shopping is the most popular m-commerce activity (63%), mobile savvy consumers are also using mobile devices to conduct financial transactions (37%), travel bookings (34%) and insurance payments or purchases (23%). On average, mobile shoppers completed 4.4 transactions on a mobile device per month, with consumers evenly split over whether they prefer to conduct transactions using an app (43%) or an internet browser (41%).

Despite m-commerce being a relatively new retail channel, the simplicity and user-friendliness of mobile devices such as the iPhone means consumer expectations are high, said Tealeaf.

Just over half of British adults who have conducted a mobile transaction in the past year said they expect a better shopping experience on a mobile device compared to purchasing in-store (51%) or online using a computer (52%). Among the problems experienced were error messages (34%) and navigation difficulties (24%).

As with other online channels, if things do go wrong, the Tealeaf research shows consumers are impatient: when asked how they would react after experiencing a problem, 30% of British adults who have experienced mobile commerce problems in the last year said they would abandon the transaction on their mobile device and try again later on a computer, 13% would switch to a competitor’s app or web site, and nearly one in 10 (9%) would vow never to conduct a mobile transaction ever again.

Just under a quarter (23%) said they would call customer service and 58% of all British adults who have conducted a mobile transaction in the past year said if they did, they would expect the agent to have visibility into what they were attempting to do on the app or mobile web page.

When consumers have problems with mobile transactions, they do not keep their experience to themselves. More than four in five adults who experience problems conducting mobile transactions (86%) said they have shared their mobile transaction experience with others and 49% of these said they had shared experiences via social media.

When those who experience problems complain on social networks, 27% said they would expect a response from the vendor. Among all mobile shoppers who experience problems, 61% said they would tell their friends and family about it to discourage them from using that app/website or doing business with the company.

“Everyone talks about the momentum in the mobile channel and customers continue to show an increasing appetite for carrying out transactions on these devices,” said Geoff Galat, CMO of Tealeaf.

“The research shows consumers are increasingly expecting the same high levels of customer experience they would on other online channels. But, at present, mobile consumers find the convenience of transacting anywhere is offset by unsatisfying and unproductive experiences. Mobile consumers are no more willing to tolerate poor experiences than customers accessing websites from their desktops.”