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More than half of consumers dissatisfied with mobile retail experiences: Adobe

With less than half of consumers satisfied with mobile retail experiences, a stronger emphasis on true personalization, mobile wallets and location-based services is needed, according to new research released today by Adobe.

While mobile is the primary device for a significant number of consumers, satisfaction with the mobile retail experience is low, with only 45 percent satisfied with retail applications and 47 percent satisfied with retail mobile Web sites. Retailers need to focus on creating both a strong mobile Web presence and a mobile app, the former to drive awareness and the latter to boost conversions, per Adobe.

“If mobile is the new paradigm, it is not great to have 55 percent unhappy with app experience,” said Matt Asay, vice president of mobile, Adobe. “You have to have a great experience.”

“Most people when they actually want to buy something, want to do it in app,” he said. “Smart marketers are looking at how do I get them to think about my brand by coming to my mobile Web site and, as they get them closer to really wanting to engage with me, that is when we need to get them to the app.”

Shoppers want convenience
The survey underscores the importance of mobile, with 92 of percent millennials considering their smartphone their primary device, 84 percent of Gen Xers, 69 percent of Baby Boomers and 67 percent of those older than 70.

Both apps and the Web play a role in the mobile customer journey, with 57 percent preferring to use apps when completing a purchase compared to 43 percent for the mobile Web.

While 71 percent rank convenience as the most important aspect of a retail mobile experience, Adobe believes that a well-executed personalized experience can be an important way to drive convenience.

Personalization rated lower with consumers, possibly because merchants are not taking full advantage of the opportunity to marry convenience and personalization on mobile.

“The thing that consumers value most is convenience,” Mr. Asay said. “They are rating personalization really low, but most don’t know what a great personalized experience looks like.”

Mobile wallets gain
Adobe reports a strong desire among consumers for some of the emerging technologies on mobile.

For example, 83 percent said mobile wallets are easier to find than credit cards. Additionally, 45 percent have used mobile wallets to purchase clothing, 44 percent for groceries and 41 for media.

Overall, the use of location-based services is low, but consumers are more likely to use their mobile device in conjunction with physical shopping. The findings include that 16 percent would use their mobile device in-store often and 51 percent sometimes. Among heavy mobile users, 58 percent have checked in-store features on their mobile device.

“No matter how sophisticated a mobile-first company is, no one feels like they have cracked the mobile code,” Mr. Asay said.

“Everyone is in this boat together,” he said. “The important thing is to start and iterate, try to find one thing, one aspect of your brand that you can deliver through a Web and app experience that will improve their lives and be super convenient.”

Building apps a science
The report is based on a survey of 4,000 consumers in the United States, Germany, France and Britain.

Adobe’s findings highlight the challenge retailers face with creating mobile applications, as 31 percent of consumers downloaded only between three and five mew apps in the past three months while 21 percent did not download a single new app.

Additionally, apps have a half-life of about five to six months, which retail apps users only an average of 13.5 times.

“We spend 90 percent of our time in apps when on our phones,” Mr. Asay said. “The reality of that number is that there is heavy competition to be one of those apps that people care about revisiting.

“To make your app sticky, there is a lot of science that goes into building an app experience that is awesome,” he said.

Top of the list
Low satisfaction levels with mobile experiences extend to other sectors. In financial services, 53 percent are satisfied with apps, 55 percent mobile Web sites. In media and entertainment, 55 percent are satisfied with apps, 47 percent mobile Web sites. In travel and hospitality, the satisfaction rate is 44 percent for apps, 48 percent for mobile Web.

“Many companies treat mobile like it is just another channel, but mobile is the dominant channel, the primary experience for most consumers today,” Mr. Asay said.

“Mobile has to be top of the list, the first consideration, not just an also-ran consideration,” he said.

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