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44pc of shoppers will never return to sites that are not mobile friendly: report

The new Mobile Experience Survey focuses on how online shoppers’ interactions with brands on mobile devices are continuing to evolve, with pricing play an important but not the only role in purchasing decisions. Key findings include that 85 percent of smartphone owners use their mobile devices to compare companies, products and pricing before making a purchase.

“The big news from a mobile perspective is people want to interact with companies via their mobile devices, but many won’t do so unless those companies provide a mobile-friendly experience,” said Thomas Robbins, chief evangelist at Kentico Software, Nashua, NH. “And the closer a company comes to mimicking the in-store experience, the better.

“Given the growth of ecommerce and decline of many bricks-and-mortar outlets, I think a significant finding is how much people still prefer shopping from a store’s physical location – 63 percent,” he said. “That said, convenience is a very compelling reason for people to shop from their mobile devices, but only as long as the mobile phone doesn’t get in the way.

“As the results show, 44 percent won’t return to mobile sites that don’t have a good look or feel. But people will return as long as they’re being catered to in a helpful and personalized way.”

Mobile look and feel
Whether or not an online shopper makes a purchase is not solely dependent on products or pricing, with 78 percent of smartphone owners, 75 percent of tablet owners and 69 percent of laptop owners saying it comes down to the look and feel of a company’s mobile Web site.

However, when asked which devices typically provide the best shopping experiences, 48 percent said a computer was the best, 40 percent picked a laptop, 9 percent chose a tablet and only 3 percent said a mobile phone.

The look and feel of a site can play a key role in repeat traffic, with 76 percent of smartphone users and 78 percent of tablet users returning often to Web sites that look good and work well on their mobile devices while 44 percent will never go back and 52 percent will not return often to site that are not mobile optimized.

While mobile commerce is growing, the results also reveal that 63 percent of smartphone owners would rather shop in a store’s physical location than via the Internet.

When shopping on mobile, users prefer larger screens over smaller ones, with mobile device preference shrinking along with screen size. This finding is reflection of the many businesses that have not yet invested in mobile optimized sites.

Customized service
Other key findings include that 45 percent of those who use their mobile devices to compare products do so from inside a physical store while 69 percent are eager to allow the collection of their personal data in exchange for more customized service.

Additionally, when it comes to what weighs most heavily on strengthen or eroding brand affinity, 28 percent said word of mouth, 25 percent a company’s Web site and 18 percent the in-store experience.

The findings suggest that while shoppers like the convenience of shopping online via mobile devices, they are still looking for experiences that mimic in-store shopping as much as possible.

This means merchants needs to make it easy for mobile shoppers to “touch” their products, talk to company representatives and otherwise copy the in-store experience or they risk losing sales to sites that accomplish this.

“Businesses are making and breaking customer relationships in mobile,” Mr. Robbins said. “If a site isn’t mobile-friendly, users will turn to sites that are, and they will carry those new relationships with them beyond the mobile environment.

“Retailers must do all they can to make their mobile sites as easy to use, helpful and personalized as possible,” he said.

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