Three tips to perfecting the mobile customer experience

With our growing need to become more mobile than ever, it‘s no surprise that mobile device sales are through the roof. In fact, more tablets were sold per day in the last quarter of 2013 (854,000) than there were babies born per day (approx. 370,000). This rise in mobile sales is no coincidence, and retailers need to understand exactly how their consumers are using mobile and how it ultimately impacts sales.

Mobile consumers are task-oriented – unlike online or in-store consumers, they are much less likely to spend time browsing for products and services and are more likely to log on to sites with a purpose to buy. As such, retailers must ensure they provide an easy, quick and consistent mobile user experience to ensure their customers remain loyal.

Understand the customer struggle

Customers have extremely high expectations of their mobile experiences despite the relative immaturity of the platform. Mobile customers who experience a less-than-satisfying shopping experience are less forgiving than other consumers. Recent research from Harris Interactive found that if they do encounter problems, 16 per cent admit they would become more likely to buy from a competitor, while 13 per cent would abandon the transaction altogether and try a competitor‘s website or app instead. Therefore, understanding the mobile user experience and ensuring it is up to scratch has never been more vital.

According to our recent research with Econsultancy, the proportion of businesses that feel they have an excellent or good understanding of the mobile user experience has almost doubled, from just 18 per cent in 2012 to 30 per cent in 2013. Just 5 per cent of companies rate their understanding as poor. But while the understanding of their mobile customers has increased in the last year, retailers still have a long way to go when it comes to addressing customer issues and adapting to their needs.

The most serious issues faced by consumers visiting e-commerce sites via mobile devices are screen-sizing issues as well as bad navigation and poor ‘findability‘ issues. Organisations need to ensure they are addressing all their customers‘ struggles to ensure they are providing the best possible mobile experience.

Here are three top tips retailers should take on board to achieve this:

1. Make the user interface user-friendly

The user interface is by far one of the biggest things that will impact a customer‘s mobile shopping experience – it‘s the first thing they see when they enter the site. Many retailers make common mistakes such as not accounting for size/width of an average customer‘s finger, making mobile users fill out long forms, not accounting for various device widths, or making pages non-zoomable.

Although mobile is a big business priority for retailers, just two in five companies said they use mobile-specific development platforms or toolkits to improve the presentation and performance of mobile-optimised sites. Customers usually look to mobile shopping as an easier and more convenient alternative to shopping in store and online, so the ease-of-use of a mobile site or app plays a significant role in brand loyalty. As such, retailers must ensure the extra time and money invested in mobile also goes towards improving the infrastructure of mobile-optimised sites and apps.

2. Listen to your customers and adapt

Knowing what makes customers tick can be tricky, but thanks to the internet and social media, customers have lots of ways of telling you, and everyone else, what they are and are not happy with. If they have a bad experience, they are more likely to vent their frustrations on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which can be hugely detrimental to their brand name. In the digital age, reducing the customer struggle has never been more vital.

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