Shopping with mobile device is becoming more commonplace than ever before, as one out of 10 shoppers already prefer mobile apps exclusively for their online shopping, according to an online Contact Solutions shopping habits survey of 1,000 American consumers.
Online shopping is already widespread around three-quarters of shoppers surveyed said they make purchases online, and 30 percent of shoppers shop on a mobile device at least as much as they shop on a computer.
According to Forrester Research, U.S. online sales are projected to top $400 billion in 2018, and nearly $1 trillion worldwide.
The Contact Solutions survey found 30 percent of shoppers choose physical stores for less than half of their everyday shopping, and 30 percent shop on mobile at least as much as they do on a computer.
However, mobile shopping isn’t perfect, as 16 percent (1 in 6) of consumers say they struggle with mobile shopping apps at least half the time, and 38 percent of respondents said they are disappointed with the inability to get help within a mobile app.
"You have to design for the mobile experience and the mobile lifestyle. It should be a mobile first shopping experience, and a mobile first customer care experience," John Hibel, Contact Solutions director of marketing, told eWeek. "Today most apps are missing that mobile first customer care experience, and mobile shoppers are very disappointed by this. It’s tough enough to get a shopper’s attention, and it’s even tougher to get a mobile shopper’s attention because they’re already on the go."
Hibel said it’s critical that when a company has a shopper’s attention and they have a question, the process don’t fracture the moment and send them down a different path to get assistance.
When consumers struggle in the app, they abandon it (and their carts)— more than half (51 percent) said they abandon the cart and close the app (lost purchase) when they struggle in a retail app, and 20 percent stop using the app entirely.
The study also indicated shoppers consistently struggle to get in-app help, with more than half (55 percent) of consumers complaining they struggle at least once every five visits.
Correspondingly, consumers want in-app customer care—nearly all (92 percent) of shoppers surveyed said it would be helpful to have customer care automatically provided within an app to help complete a task or goal.
"One of the most important things you can do is provide a seamless transition to live agent assistance within the app," Hibel said. "Once you make a commitment to be at least as helpful to customers in your mobile app as you would be in a store, these pieces fall into place."
On the flip side, successful shopping apps can reap big rewards—more than three-quarters (77 percent) of survey respondents said they would return to a good app, and nearly all (95 percent) said it would make them more likely to do business again.
A poor experience, however, can be fatal—70 percent of respondents will tell friends and family when they have a poor customer experience, while 43 percent will post a review on the company’s website or mobile app.
A little under a third (29 percent) would share their bad experience on a social network like Facebook, and nearly a quarter (23 percent) said they would post a review to a third party website.
"Customers have high expectations already when it comes to their shopping experiences, and the proliferation of online retailers that offer free shipping and one-click purchases has made it so that people expect to be able to get what they want, when they want – right away," Hibel said. "Today’s consumer is moving fast – and retailers need to match that pace."