The point is
that I have a well-developed digital memory for the apps and sites that make life harder than it needs to be. And according to a new survey by e-commerce platform provider Skava of over 740 smartphone
shoppers, the bad mobile experiences are almost universal. The company found that 88% of those who use their phones for shopping have had bad experiences trying to do so.
And if this self-reported sentiment is correct, almost a third of those people will not be coming back to a mobile site or app after they got burned once. Another 29% will wait at least a year before returning to a retailer after a lousy episode. But of course the worst outcome is loss to a competitor, which happens in a whopping 43% of cases where a mobile experience lets the shopper down. They just find someone who will serve them better right away.
Granted, Skava is selling its own platform and expertise aimed at remedying this situation, and so has an interest in highlighting the amount of mobile pain out there. But I don’t think the numbers here defy personal experience. The natural consequence of these last few years of halting and uneven development of mobile platforms is that just about everyone has experienced retailers who are not ready.
The choke points encountered by users are not surprising becase we all have experienced them. More than half (51%) cite bad navigation. Nearly as many (46%) complain that the product images are too small. And 41% are wary about the security of using a retail site on devices.
Curiously, only 26% say they have
found the checkout process frustrating. Let me speculate wildly here that this last number is more reflective of the share of people who are even expecting a decent mobile purchase experience and
trying at all. In the last year it has become commonplace in the industry to say that mobile phones are where shoppers browse -- and perhaps do on-the-spot research -- but don’t buy. In some
ways I wonder if industry conventional wisdom is actually consumer presumption as well. I wonder how many mobile shoppers simply expect a bad experience at mobile checkout and so don’t even
approach that function.
After all, how many of us have hit upon the very common problem of having a decent mobile experience in an app or site only to have everything revert over to the standard un-optimized Web experience once we hit the buy button? I really wonder whether the last few years of crappy mobile checkout experiences is partly to blame for the overall perception that people don’t buy stuff on their smartphones. I wonder if it is not enough for retailers to create better mobile checkouts, which some have done, but to proselytize the improvements with customers.
For some merchants there should be good reason for people to feel more comfortable sealing the deal on their smartphone. The phone is more likely to be at the point of inspiration and impulse than a desktop or even the tablet. Anyone remember the first time he or she used Amazon’s One-click back in the day when it was a breakthrough and novelty? The seamlessness of the experience was itself worth branding to the company and making a part of the site’s identity.
As retailers up their mobile game, it may benefit them to make painless checkout a real selling point of their device presence. Users have a memory of bad experiences, and it can put the brakes on their venturing back with the same vendor.