New Report Evaluates Best Mobile Shopping

With mobile increasingly becoming shoppers' channel-of-choice, which retailers are best prepared to offer the best mobile experience to consumers? That's the question asked and answered in a new report assessing mobile commerce strengths of the top 20 retailers targeting U.S. shoppers.

Issued by Episerver, a leading provider of digital marketing and digital commerce solutions, The Mobile Commerce Report 2015 study first identified consumers' needs and expectations when shopping on a mobile site as part of a larger international survey. Researchers then benchmarked retailers' overall mobile commerce proficiencies, examining respective mobile websites, tablet applications, iPhone and Android apps – and compared current functionality against consumer expectations. Mobile sites were ranked on proficiency in the content and commerce competencies respective to: mobile strategy, mobile site navigation, mobile iPad app, mobile iPhone app, Android phone, and Android tablet.

In the U.S. "speed and convenience" was cited by 46% of U.S. consumers surveyed as the number one reason why consumers browse products on a mobile device rather than using a PC or going into a brick & mortar store location, and 63% said they will abandon a mobile site if it proves difficult to access. Even more worrying for retailers is that 22% of respondents claim that if a mobile site doesn't work they will go straight to a competitor to find an alternative.

Additionally, 39% of U.S. respondents listed "physical stores" as one of their top three locations to browse a mobile device. While not quite as high as some European locations, this still provides U.S. brands with a strong opportunity to target in-store crossover experiences in their mobile strategies.

When compared to their international retailer counterparts, American retailers scored particularly high for the quality of mobile commerce applications across both Android and iPhone devices. Unfortunately, U.S. retailer rankings fell drastically when it came to Android tablet applications, with very few retailers having a dedicated tablet app. This is likely related to Apple's dominance within the U.S. tablet market, causing many retailers to focus development efforts purely on iPad applications.

According to the research, U.S. consumers are most likely to access mobile websites from their home, with 68% of American respondents ranking this location as the place they most commonly browse their smartphone. This figure was even higher for US tablet owners, with only 17% of respondents saying that they most use their tablet outside of their homes. When outside the home, U.S. consumers were most likely to browse their smartphones while at work.

"Retailers must take a mobile-first approach to commerce, with consumers increasingly shunning their laptops and home computers to shop on smartphones and tablets instead, and as more than 50% of US online adults access interactive content on their phones at least daily," said Bob Egner, Vice President of Product Marketing for Episerver. "Our research underscores that to deliver on a seamless, integrated omni-channel approach, marketers must align user experience with device capabilities. They should look to create unified experiences across all platforms, but must play to the specific strengths of each device or platform."

As an example, many of the brands included in this benchmark opted to develop a single Android app for use across both tablets and mobiles. "While this helped to create a seamless user experience, these apps ended up being stretched on larger tablet screens – a poor use of additional screen space," he said.

"Creating exceptional omni-channel experiences is as much about leveraging the right technologies as it is about taking the right approach," continued Egner. "The key to success is tight integration between mobile, point-of-sale (POS), customer data, content management and eCommerce platforms to support a consistent brand experience. It's about more than just connecting multiple platforms, it's about building a fully integrated marketing ecosystem that supports consumers in their journey across channels. Think long and hard about the strategy you are looking to implement, and then select the platforms that make it easy to support these omni-channel journeys."

The Mobile Commerce Report 2015 Study was conducted by ResearchNow for Episerver.
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