Apple And Best Buy Lead In Mobile Satisfaction - But Walmart Makes The Sales

Smartphone-Shopping-A2For all of our hand-wringing over showrooming and the relatively weak state of mobile retail experiences, it turns out that consumers themselves say they are pretty satisfied with what stores are doing on handsets and tablets. According to the latest survey of over 1,000 consumers about the top retail brands and their mobile experiences, many score well. Solutions provider Mobiquity commissioned the study via Equation Research, which updates an earlier report we covered in early December.

In terms of overall satisfaction, Apple still leads the bunch with 51% finding their mobile experience very satisfactory compared to 35% for Best Buy and 28% for Kohl’s. Widening out to the top two boxes of satisfaction, however, between 88% and 90% of respondents were relatively pleased with CVS, Walmart, and Target as well.  

But nothing beats scale, breadth and price. So it is not surprising that Walmart still attracts the most overall activity -- 28% of smartphone browsers and 32% of mobile shoppers on tablets. Walmart also led as the top place these browsers converted to buyers and made a purchase. While 23% said they purchased most often with the Walmart brand on smartphones (compared to 14% for Target and Best Buy), 24% of buyers on tablets bought most often from Walmart, compared to 22% from Best Buy and 9% from Apple.

No surprises on the real threat of showrooming in this survey either. Among respondents, 41% made a purchase on their device after shopping at the store, with nearly a third (31%) citing better price as the main reason -- which I take to mean that they found it from another retailer.  

The choke points were of greatest interest to me, since I maintain that tablets especially should be much easier for purchasing than they are. When asked for their top reasons for being dissatisfied with a retailer’s mobile experience, slow load times were far and away the biggest reason. What was most interesting to me was that 67% cited slow load times in a tablet app as a cause of frustration. This is an underappreciated weakness to the tablet platform. The screen size gives one the expectation of laptop/desktop performance. But the browser/app and WiFi technology rarely provide it.

Again, tablets set new and different expectations. For instance, while checkout generally does suck on most touch devices still in my experience, only small numbers of respondents cite this as a main cause of dissatisfaction on smartphones. I read that metric as a response to low expectations and the lower rate of people who even bother with a mobile checkout. On tablets, however, a whopping 57% cited checkout problems in tablet apps and 32% in tablet sites.

I still maintain that having a seamless mobile experience available to a customer is enough for a retailer. Unless that experience is known to the shopper at all other touchpoints, then mobile continues to risk being the missing link that can keep a customer with the brand. I think retailers have to be more proactive about encouraging people to use their smartphones in-store and to pitch the advantages of them doing so with that retail brand’s app or site. It is the best way to get that customer into the digital loop so they are more likely to make the buy with you on any screen they want.

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