Nielsen: M-Commerce Needs To Gain Consumer Trust

Smartphone-BuyGee -- was it only yesterday that I was arguing how a well-designed mobile shopping experience could and likely should appeal to consumers more than Web shopping and its cluttered environments? Oops. It looks as if consumers themselves have a few more attitudinal hurdles to leap before fully embracing m-shopping. According to a new survey from Nielsen, mobile lags in-store and online shopping experiences by most measures…and by a long shot.

When asked which shopping method was most reliable, only 11% cited mobile, while 28% did so for online purchasing and 69% for in-store.

In overall likability (“favorite” method of purchase), the Web is a clear leader with 59% of consumers preferring this platform over physical retail (31%) and mobile (13%).

Many of us presume that the long-fought struggle to gain consumer trust on online ordering would make the adoption curve for mobile sharper than it had been for the Web. But when it comes to buying “safely,” 77% still prefer retail, with only 22% citing the Web and 7% mobile. Clearly, there still is significant work to be done just to get m-payments and m-commerce up to the still-spotty levels of online.

When it comes to sheer ease and convenience, however, you can see better where mobile has its wedge with users. While only 20% cited retail as the easy way to buy and 68% cited the Web, 27% credited mobile as an easy way to buy. And in “convenience,” mobile shot up to 38% user appeal, compared to 68% for the Web and only 13% for retail.

On one level the consumer survey may seem disappointing to mobilistas. But put the numbers in perspective. The respondents were making choices among three platforms, so the attitudes toward m-commerce were relative to one another. If mobility teaches us anything, it is that situation and context change everything. As we saw last holiday season, in the press of last-minute shopping, m-commerce spiked considerably. In a given situation, attitudes and amenability toward m-commerce shift with need. There is a glass half full aspect to these metrics. More to the point, the attitudes are likely also contingent on the vendor involved.

How likely are longtime Amazon or eBay customers (both leaders in m-purchases) to doubt the safety of pressing a buy button in their respective apps just because that same buy button is not on a desktop screen? At some point, the unfamiliarity of the activity is overcome by the realization that it is the same Web -- but on a different screen. 

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