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68pc of holiday mobile shoppers browse via optimized sites versus apps: ForeSee exec

NEW YORK – A ForeSee executive at the Mobile Marketing Summit: Holiday Focus 2012 said that marketers must move beyond metrics and find ways to examine the consumer experience on mobile to reshape brand commerce for the holiday season.

While the company’s Mobile Satisfaction Index: Retail Edition found that the majority of consumers are browsing and shopping on mobile sites, it is important for marketers to study the multichannel presence of on-the-go consumers. Additionally, mobile is not the largest revenue channel, but it is essential to the customer experience this holiday season since it most often serves as a research channel as well as a companion while consumers are shopping in-store.

“One of the biggest challenges is that the customer experience is so important, but we do not do enough to measure it,” said Larry Freed, president/CEO of ForeSee, New York.  “We are used to measuring ourselves, but looking at the customer experience gives us a forward-looking view, because if people have a good experience, they will come back.

“We have multichannel, multi-device consumers, but most metrics seem to have a single-channel focus,” he said. “We are getting misinformation from multichannel customers.”

The Mobile Satisfaction Index examined the top 20 retail mobile sites and applications. There were 4,500 respondents.

The Mobile Marketing Summit: Holiday Focus 2012 conference was a Mobile Marketer event.

Measurements of mobile success
During the “Understanding the Holiday Mobile Shopper: Data, Actionable Insight and Analysis” keynote session, the executive discussed how the standard metrics that marketers are gathering do not help brands find out more about the mobile customer experience.

“Brands do not know how customers are using [the mobile channel], why they are using it, what they are trying to accomplish, what channels they have interacted with before or where they are in the purchasing cycle,” Mr. Freed said.

Mr. Freed at the Mobile Marketing Summit

Consumers have freedom of choice.

They are able to move on to the next mobile experience and will not return in the future if they are not satisfied.

The report examined the top 20 retail mobile sites and apps in terms of consumer satisfaction. Each mobile site and app received a score of 1-100 of which 80 or above represents a remarkable score, per Mr. Freed.

Amazon, Avon, Apple and Victoria’s Secret received scores of 84, 83, 82 and 81 respectively. Barnes & Noble, eBay, Netflix, Staples and Walgreens all received a score of 80.

The average score of the Top 20 mobile retail sites and apps is 79 while the average score of the Top 20 retail Web sites is 80.

Moreover, the report examined mobile users and the devices on which they are interacting with brands.

The Mobile Satisfaction Index found that 65 percent of mobile shoppers are repeat customers and gave satisfaction of the mobile shopping experience a score of 80. Thirty-five percent are first-time users and gave a satisfaction an average score of 77.

A large number of first-time users signals good acquisition and marketing tactics, but if users are not coming back, that means they are not having a good experience, per Mr. Freed.

Mr. Freed at the Mobile Marketing Summit

The likelihood that users will purchase on the mobile channel received a store of 74 out of 100, while the likelihood to purchase out of that channel received a score of 82.

Also, 76 percent of mobile users are on smartphones. Twenty-four percent are on tablets.

Users gave smartphones a satisfaction score of 80. Of those polled, 46 percent use Android devices and 43 percent use iPhones.

In addition, tablet users gave a satisfaction score of 79. Of these users, 60 percent are on iPads, 20 percent are on Android devices and 11 percent are on Kindles.

Getting priorities straight
Meanwhile, the Mobile Satisfaction Index examined the shopping of the habits of users on each device as well as those on mobile sites versus apps.

Sixty-eight percent of mobile users are on mobile sites. Fifty percent use sites from smartphones and 18 percent use them from tablets.

There are also 32 percent of users on apps. Of these, 26 percent are on smartphones and 6 percent are on tablets.

Consumers who use apps from a smartphone are the most satisfied with their experience. They gave an average score of 81.

Also, consumers are more likely to make an in-channel purchase from an app on a smartphone or tablet. These users gave the app experience a satisfaction score of 77.

Loyal customers are more likely to download a retail app, so it is expected that these users would be more likely to purchase, per Mr. Freed.

However, the likelihood that mobile users will make a purchase outside of the channel is most likely among consumers who use mobile sites on smartphones.

Furthermore, the report polled respondents on different aspects of their shopping experience.

The majority, 37 percent, of consumers visited a mobile site or app due to their familiarity with the brand. It is also notable that 13 percent visited due to a social network or word of mouth recommendation.

More than half of users visit mobile retail sites and apps from home.

Twenty-eight percent of those polled use mobile sites and apps to look up product details and 19 percent use them to look up price information.

In terms of where consumers will make a purchase, 36 percent purchase from a laptop or desktop computer, 35 percent purchase from a mobile device and 25 percent purchase in-store.

Of those who do not purchase, 23 percent research the company further, 13 percent research other companies and 47 percent do both.

Lastly, mobile users were polled on how they would interact with brands via mobile this holiday season.

Thirty-nine percent are going to research products more, 26 percent will do more research while in a store, 21 percent plan to make more purchases and 18 percent will locate store locations.

“While there may not be huge numbers in terms of how much consumers are purchasing on phones and tablets, where will be a very, very large impact this holiday season,” Mr. Freed said.

“Since 26 percent of consumers will do more searches while in a store, as a retailer, your goal is to hope that they go to your app or site instead of a competitors,” he said. “There needs to be compelling functionality – have a shopping list on your Web site that goes to the smartphone and finds where products are in the store.

“Make compelling content and keep the competitors out of the shopping experience.”

Final Take
Larry Freed is president/CEO of ForeSee, New York