Mobile search is poised to contribute to ABI Research's estimated $4.9 billion in U.S. mobile ecommerce this year, but not if businesses can't get it together and provide tools that allow consumers to easily make online purchases.
In fact, businesses may lose customers as a result of poor mobile experiences, according to a survey from Tealeaf, a SAP spinoff. The mobile transaction study, conducted by Harris Interactive, reveals that 84% of U.S. adults who conducted an online transaction on a mobile device in the last year had a problem that impacted the relationship with the brand.
The study finds that 63% of the 2,469 U.S. adults age 18 or older who participated in the survey between Feb. 9 and 11, 2011 said they would be less likely to buy from the same company via other purchase channels if they experienced a problem conducting a mobile transaction.
The study also reveals that forty-three percent would abandon the mobile transaction and try later on a computer, followed by 16% who were more likely to buy from a competitor, 14% who would email or log a complaint with customer service; and 12% who would abandon the transaction at the application or site and try a competitor's.
Geoff Galat, vice president of worldwide marketing at Tealeaf, which develops software that measures online processes and transactions, points to the television commercial that shows two people sitting in a bed on their wedding night taking pictures of checks on their mobile phone to deposit them electronically. "They make it look easy, but in reality these are complicated transactions," he says.
Mobile search on smartphones has spurred the adoption of ecommerce, but transactional struggles vary, ranging from shopping to travel to banking and insurance. The study finds that thirty-four percent received an error message; 29% said the application or Web site was difficult to navigate; 25% were unable to complete a transaction due to an endless loop; 23% had trouble logging in; and 16% encountered insufficient, incorrect, or confusing information.
Some companies are already seeing mobile strategies pay off. eBay's Black Friday bids on mobile devices in 2010 rose 30% compared with the previous year. Since July 2008, the launch of its first mobile app, nearly 30 million items were bought or sold worldwide using eBay mobile apps.
Consumers have high expectations when it comes to making purchases on a mobile phone. Forty-seven percent who conducted a mobile transaction in the past year expect to have a better experience on mobile compared with in-store, and 85% expect the experience to be better than or equal to online using a laptop or desktop computer.
Harris Interactive conducted five online consumer transaction surveys on behalf of Tealeaf between 2005 and 2009. On average, 86% of online consumers surveyed experienced similar problems when conducting online transactions from traditional desktop or laptop computers.
Although the platform to conduct ecommerce transactions continues to shift from desktop and laptop to tablet and mobile, consumers have found that their struggles continue.