Mobile Users, Flummoxed By Log-In, Search and Payment Problems, Tweet Their Woes

Posted on by Brian Quinton

Think consumers are willing to cut the mobile channel some slack due to its newness? Think again. Among adults who made a purchase via a mobile device during the past year, 85% expect the experience to be better than purchases made through a laptop or desktop computer, according to a study of online chatter. And 41% of the comments made about some of the top mobile-using retailers reflected a fair amount of frustration.

"[Eighty-five percent] is really high for a channel that is new, on a device that is small with a virtual keyboard," says Geoff Galat, vice president of worldwide marketing at customer experience management solutions firm Tealeaf, which commissioned the study. "The expectation rate with mobile is ridiculous."

Tealeaf's study monitored tweets and other social media chatter about marketers' mobile programs. The good news is that 58% praised their mobile-based shopping experiences. The bad news is that the inability to complete transactions topped the areas in which retailers' mobile efforts fall down, followed by complaints about search functionality and the user interfaces.

"In 36% of the positive conversations, people praised the features and functions of the mobile device [as they were incorporated into the shopping experience]", says Galat. "They could use cameras and location-based services. But only 17% said they were easy to use: People were saying 'neat features and functions, but they aren't working as well as we would like them to work.'"

There's a spillover effect to poor mobile commerce structures. According to the study, 63% of shoppers are less likely to make a purchase from a company's other channels if the mobile transaction process was flawed.

Tealeaf worked with social media monitoring firm Crimson Hexagon to analyze the content of consumers' tweets and social media. A cross-section of comments includes snarky observations regarding the futility of superhuman Black Friday efforts – "We just passed fools camping outside of [retailer]. Folks, you want good deals? There's an app for that." and "Wow, just did half my #Christmas shopping on the bus, using my #iPhone [shopping site] app. #ihearttech #blackfridaybedamned".

The boo-birds were represented as well. As one consumer groused, "[Retailer] mobile is down. Not letting me check out. CS [customer service] says it's a known problem. On Black Friday? I just missed two deals!"

Not all consumers separated mobile shopping with participating in Black Friday activities. Galat notes the phenomenon of what he calls the mobile multitasking consumer – shoppers who were waiting in line for doorbuster events while buying items via their mobile devices.

"People were multitasking," Galat says. "It's a good use of time. Some stores were worried about whether they should block cell signals, and whether [retailers] now are becoming showrooms for Amazon.

"Going forward, more companies will create apps and sites that take advantage of location awareness," Galat adds. "If I am in Best Buy and I am a registered Best Buy customer, the store might send me a coupon that tries to prevent me from going someplace else. That is coming."

Tealeaf did not disclose the percentage of consumers classified as mobile multitaskers.

The research done for the study included analysis of publicly available Internet conversations culled from Twitter, public Facebook pages, posts and message boards which focused on 35 retailers that use mobile programs.

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