Study: Retailers Failing, Faltering on the Mobile Front

12/22/2014
With the busy holiday shopping season upon us, new research shows brands aren't taking advantage of technology, which could dramatically improve consumers' mobile experience. After all, more than half (54 percent) of consumers say retailers only "meet expectations" or "inconsistently meet expectations" when asked about brands' use of technology throughout the shopping experience. A mere 16 percent award retailers an "A," highlighting the need for retailers to make improvements to both their backend infrastructures and user-facing applications/portals.

These are the findings of an independent study commissioned by Mobiquity, Inc. to look at the role technology plays in consumers' experiences. The full report can be downloaded here and infographic can be found here.

Expectations vs. reality
When asked what they should be able to do when shopping today, consumers' expectations are different than the reality of what they can currently do:
  • Should: Earn/redeem loyalty points from his/her mobile phone (44 percent; Can: Only 31 percent of consumers claim they can do this today
  • Should: Have the same look/feel across channels (in-store, Web, mobile) (39 percent); Can: Only 22 percent of consumers cite the same look/feel across channels (in-store, Web, mobile) exists today
  • Should: Pay for a purchase with his/her mobile phone (33 percent); Can: Only 24 percent of consumers say that can pay for a purchase with his/her mobile phone today
In order to deliver on expectations, retailers should develop a forward-thinking culture of innovation and experimentation so that teams can adapt quickly to customers' needs, such as new loyalty programs or payment methods. Brands should develop/deploy an infrastructure that supports this innovation; one that can scale easily, is quick to deploy, and provides consistent user experiences for consumers via the web and across devices, regardless of mobile platform.

Retailers over promise, under deliver
Based on the findings, brands talk a good game, but there is a pretty serious disconnect between expectations and execution. Thirty-seven (37) percent of consumers feel retailers "over promise" but "under deliver" when it comes to the role technology plays in the overall shopping experience. Specifically:
  • Thirty-three (33) percent feel retailers' websites take too long to load on mobile devices
  • Thirty-one (31) percent think mobile payment technology is inconsistent, at best
What ranks highest in shaping a consumer's experience with a retailer? Website load-time on mobile devices. And, with only 17 percent of consumers claiming to have a positive experience accessing retail websites via mobile, the findings reveal there are some pretty poor experiences taking place.

As retailers look to 2015, they must choose technology solutions that enhance customers' ability to access information quickly, whether it's during the busy holiday shopping season or the middle of the night.

All mobile experiences are not created equal
According to the findings, today's consumers are frustrated with inconsistent experiences across mobile devices:
  • Forty-five (45) percent of consumers say the user experience across devices is inconsistent and frustrating
  • Thirty-six (36) percent choose to only use certain devices for certain activities – those they feel are best-suited for each activity
Retailers should focus on what matters: customers. They should provide experiences that will positively differentiate them from the competition – focus on building mobile applications that will be easy to use and value-generating.

"These findings should come as a wake-up call to retailers," said Scott Snyder, president and chief strategy officer, Mobiquity. "Consumers clearly want to have positive experiences and relationships with their favorite brands. Now, retailers just have to rise to the challenge of providing those experiences. The good news is that it's possible, especially when working with the right partners."
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