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Top 8 complaints about mobile shopping reveal persistent issues

mobile_connectivity_shoppingA survey of 100,000 online shoppers by Bizrate Insights shows that, despite gains made in the mobile user experience, consumers are still frustrated by the need to pinch and zoom, slow load times and inconsistent product availability, suggesting retailers still have a ways to go when it comes to building better mobile sites and applications.

Mobile traffic and shopping continues to grow at a brisk rate, with retailers big and small focusing on reimagining the digital shopping experience to optimize it for smartphones’ small screens. However, when shoppers were queried about their biggest complaints about shopping mobile devices, their answers suggest that retailers have not advanced mobile experiences as far as consumers would like.

“The number one mobile pain point that one-third of all online shoppers cited was the need to constantly enlarge their screen in order to click the right thing,” said Hayley Silver, vice president at Bizrate Insights, a division of Connexity.

“Mobile experiences that require a lot of zooming not only frustrate people, they tend to cause a lot of ‘misclicks’ which send the user to a new page unintentionally,” she said. “This can lead to a frustrating experience, wasted loading time and a higher bounce rate.”

Scrolling for dollars
To address the issue of mistaken clicks, Bizrate Insights suggests retailers place a few pixels of padding around buttons or images that act as a link to help reduce unwanted clicks by shoppers who tap the edge of an image accidentally.

Bizrate also reminds retailers that mobile shoppers tend to scroll significantly more than they click, so it is important that any experience supports scrolling and provides enough space to scroll without users hitting too many accidental links.

Slow load times are another big complaint by mobile shoppers. While some retailers seem to accept this as inevitable, there are some steps that can be taken that could help reduce abandonment rates. Bizrate Insights suggests retailers reduce image file sizes, combine common pieces of code, reduce the number of plugins and minimize dependency requests.

Inconsistent product availability is another complaint made by shoppers, referring to when there is a fundamental difference between mobile and desktop shopping experiences. To address, retailers should improve discoverability with consistency across navigation and smart search suggestions. Also, if a product is only available in-store, mobile offerings should help users locate the nearest store that has the item in stock.

Text that is too small to read is persistent complaint by mobile shoppers, suggesting there is a gap between what retailers consider readable and what shoppers can tolerate. Since larger text means less text, retailers should always look for ways to convey their message in fewer words. Also, put extra focus on headlines and the first few lines of text as mobile shoppers often do not read beyond these.

The value of images
Even though mobile screens have gotten larger, mobile shoppers still do not like having to type on their phones. This is why it is important for retailers to provide automatic suggestions for common searches and to integrate solutions such as PayPal Express Checkout and Apple Pay to save shoppers from having to enter their credit card and address information.

Mobile shoppers also complain about too small images. With limited space on phones and the need for content that is large enough to read, retailers have their work cut for them when it comes to imagery. Keep in mind that images are even more crucial on mobile than on desktop, as mobile users typically want to be able to seamlessly browse through visuals as they look for inspiration.

Bizrate Insights recommends retailers make sure imagery represents at least 50 percent of their screen space and are the central focus on mobile pages. Images need to be zoom friendly, with a limit of four to six images on the screen at once.

Shoppers are also not happy when product information is limited on mobile. Retailers should never eliminate or reduce product details to save space. Instead, get smart about it is displayed. For example, offer a teaser and a “click for more” option or try diving product descriptions into tabs, such as description, details, return policy, etc.

Data security is also still a top concern for mobile shoppers, with nearly two-thirds of U.S. shoppers not trusting retailers with their payment and personal information. Bizrate Insights recommends always offering mobile shoppers alternative payment options and regularly remind shoppers that their information is safe.

“In the wake of so many public data breaches, consumer concerns over data security remain alive and well,” Ms. Silver said.

“Solutions like PayPal, Google Wallet and Visa Checkout don’t require shoppers to enter their personal, and many shoppers Bizrate Insights surveyed explicitly mentioned that they preferred PayPal for security reasons,” she said.