April 24, 2013

The customer is always right – even when it comes to mobile shopping

Written By Martin Sandhu

The phrase is drummed into retailers from the day they get their first Saturday job and for many it’s one that they only have negative experience with. The only time phrase is rolled out is when a disagreement occurs and the retailer begrudgingly backs down. But when it comes to the online/mobile shopping experiences those situations become easier to mange – non face-to-face situations and much easier for most, what the modern shopping experience also provides is in-depth data into what customers really want!

Every marketer knows that capturing shoppers on the move is now vital to success, mobile and tablet use will continue to rise and the use of laptops and PC’s fall. So what is it that customers really want? Keeping on top of this is vital for mobile success, but the good news is it should be fairly easy to measure too.

Website and app analytics are undoubtedly monitored on a regular basis, but doing some serious research and analysis every six months or so may prove really useful. The mobile world is changing so quickly that it’s easy to get left behind; one operating system update or a new feature in a competitor’s app is all it takes to turn a customer off.

Digital marketing body Econsultancy regularly carries out a survey of mobile shoppers and have found that trends do change quickly, but perhaps more interestingly is that it’s the relatively small aspects to an app or mobile site that make a difference.

Unsurprisingly the homepage is a key factor, first impressions count and many mobile shoppers like the simplicity of them, but are left feeling uninspired. Striking a balance between a clean, simple but impactful design is key. Econsultancy found the Interflora homepage went down very well and it’s no coincidence that their customer support number is clear for all to see at the top…

Search functions also rank highly for importance, yet gain it’s the small things which make a difference. Predictive text is expected on mobiles and sites whose search doesn’t use such a feature can be an instant turn off…sometimes its just too much hard work to type it all out! Another common complaint is search functions not suitably trying to correct typos, on a small screen it’s really easy to mistype, particularly it you’re on the move and an intuitive ‘Did you mean…’ function can make all the difference.

Making the purchase itself as easy as using the rest of the site is a challenge, but customers faced with long forms and lots of information to enter are likely to abandon their baskets more often. New customers understand the need for information but can often feel like they are being asked for too much. Customers who have already purchased before prefer to be able to log in and go! Simple additions like remembering card details or offering one-click purchase options, like Amazon do, may hugely improve customer satisfaction.

Listening to customers and improving the mobile experience based on their feedback is crucial to success. None of the improvements mentioned above require huge changes, but will make a huge difference to customer satisfaction.