Mobile Shopping Apps Leave Consumers Frustrated

The vast majority (81 percent) of shoppers said they have needed assistance in a mobile app but only 12 percent used their mobile phone to get it.

mcommerce and contact solutions

Consumers want convenience and customer service, and won’t hesitate to abandon brands and mobile apps they feel don’t deliver, according to a survey of more than 1,8000 U.S. consumers by Contact Solutions, a customer care software specialist.

The vast majority (81 percent) of shoppers said they have needed assistance in a mobile app, but only 12 percent have used their mobile phone to get it, because it’s simply not available.

Companies need to anticipate the kinds of help or assistance customers might need and make sure they can get it effortlessly in a mobile app, said John Hibel, director of marketing at Contact Solutions. "They’re going to have questions about your products. They’re going to have questions about payments. They’re going to have questions about shipping or in-store pickup. They’re going to have questions about their accounts,” he noted.

Almost half of consumers surveyed said they dislike leaving an app to get help. If forced to do so, one out of four shoppers are likely to abandon their purchase and the brand.

"You would never consider creating a shopping experience where a customer would have to completely leave the showroom floor to get assistance," Hibel said. "That would be a horrible customer experience, and you know it would jeopardize sales. In the same way, you should never consider building a mobile shopping app that forces the customer to leave to app to get assistance."

The survey also indicated there are other ways to help brand image and increase repeat customers--54 percent of shoppers said coupons and discounts would increase desire to be a repeat customer, but easier product comparisons (34 percent), the ability to get help (25 percent), and more ways to pay (29 percent) also help increase repeat business.

More than a quarter (27 percent) of shoppers prefer to do mobile shopping while in the store, but 26 percent browse mobile apps while in a competitor’s store.

However, results indicated much of the mobile app experience happens in the unrushed environment of the home, with 85 percent of shoppers preferring to shop there using a mobile phone, even if other devices are close by.

"Mobile shopping is growing rapidly, and there’s an amazing race going on to win customer mindshare in the mobile moments that matter," Hibel said. "Most consumers have a handful of apps they use frequently, and the rest get used rarely or just sit idle and forgotten. You want to do everything you can to be one of those frequently used, top- of -mind apps. To do that you’ve got to find ways to make your app sticky and get your customers to engage with it regularly."