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41pc of shoppers frustrated by mobile shopping during Thanksgiving weekend: Report

December 2, 2011

Holiday shoppers tweeted their mobile frustrations

While Sears, Amazon and Dell had the highest-ranking mobile sites in terms of performance on Cyber Monday, more than 40 percent of shoppers still expressed frustration with their mobile shopping experience over the holiday weekend.

Twitter conversations about mobile shopping increased by 217 percent on Black Friday – with a significant portion reflecting consumer frustration, according to online and mobile customer experience management firm Tealeaf. The results point to how critical it is that retailers meet consumers’ expectations in order to drive conversions and keep customers coming back.

“The big takeaway is that 41 percent of the consumers who tweeted about mobile shopping were frustrated,” said Geoff Galat, vice president of worldwide marketing at Tealeaf, San Francisco. “Consumers are doing mobile shopping at a much higher rate but the experience of doing it is still extremely challenging.

“It is really easy for shoppers to simply go someplace else when they have a suboptimal experience,” he said. “The stakes are even higher on mobile because the expectations are so high.

“So retailers have to deliver optimized mobile experiences that work or they risk customers going elsewhere and they might not come back.”

Customer frustration
Sears, Amazon and Dell had the highest-ranking mobile sites in terms of performance on Cyber Monday, according to Compuware, Detroit. While such top performers invested in the technology that enabled them to make the most of the increase in mobile traffic and sales so far this holiday season, many retailers are still not meeting consumers’ expectations in mobile.

Tealeaf analyzed online conversations about mobile commerce with the top 35 mobile retailers worldwide. The results show that 41 percent of online conversations reflected customer frustration with mobile shopping at the top 35 mobile retailers during the Thanksgiving weekend.

A few of the common frustrations that consumers wrestled with were the inability to complete transactions, poor search functionality, inconsistencies between the online and mobile channels. While 58 percent of the negative conversations about mobile shopping focused on these issues, 21 percent called out features that could have improved the experience but were not available.

Another 58 percent of customer conversations touted the benefits of mobile shopping.

The positive conversations about mobile shopping focused on convenience, ease of use, time savings and instant deals, with 36 percent praising mobile features and functionality while 17 percent said mobile apps and sites were easy to use.

The Internet conversations reflected a growing number of consumers who are shopping via mobile while waiting in line at a store.

“One of the interesting findings in the results was that the conversation about mobile shopping really spiked on Black Friday,” Mr. Galat said.

“There were a lot of people who tweeting while standing in line for early openings or to make a purchase,” he said. “They were shopping on mobile devices while waiting in line – that is an interesting new behavior we are seeing.”

The results show that while mobile commerce presents a significant opportunity for retailers, there is still room for improvement.

Retailers need to listen to customers about they want from a mobile experience.

“The things that you can do on a mobile device is really intriguing to people but, as an industry, we haven’t been able to create the experiences that deliver,” Mr. Galat said.

“Look into what are the functionalities that people might want to do,” he said. “A lot of retailers have built these complex sites that do everything that a desktop site does but maybe customers just want to be able to find stores.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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