Mobile shoppers want better customer care right now

| by John Hibel
Mobile shoppers want better customer care right now

With the holiday season upon us, retailers are looking for any way they can to entice customers to buy, and that includes courting mobile shopping more than ever before. Shoppers today have less time, are becoming more price-conscious, and have access to more information than ever before – and that’s changing their buying behavior.

At Contact Solutions, we recently completed a retail mobile shopping survey and found that 30 percent of shoppers shop on a mobile device at least as much as they shop on a computer. We found that at a growing rate, shoppers are shifting their online purchases from the web to smartphones and tablets so they can shop while on the go. In fact, one out of every 10 shoppers already prefer mobile apps exclusively for their online shopping ability. Mobile shopping can take place via online apps for physical stores, and at online-only stores like Amazon and Zappos. According to comScore, more than 30 percent of sales at online scores are via mobile phones alone and if you include shopping via tablets, the percentage grows even higher.

Mobile shopping has officially arrived, and with mobile payment options like Apple Pay now available, the tides are turning in the mobile world. With three out of four shoppers going online to shop, the sales potential is huge, but there is an ominous problem overshadowing the sunny mobile skies – customer care is lacking in most mobile shopping apps and consumers aren’t happy about it.


Even though the growing rate of shoppers are moving to mobile, mobile shopping is far from perfect and many companies are leaving sales on the table. One in six of consumers told us they struggle with mobile shopping apps at least half the time, and 38 percent of respondents said they are disappointed with the inability to get help in a mobile app.

Why is this such a bad thing? Does the fact that consumers are struggling translate into an impact on the bottom line? The answer is an emphatic, “Yes!”

Consumers have very high expectations for what sort of care they want when shopping on their mobile devices, and if those expectations are not met, shoppers will abandon the experience – and their carts – entirely. More than half of shoppers will abandon their carts and close the app when they struggle, causing lost potential revenue for retailers. A surprising 20 percent of shoppers will stop using that particular app entirely. As if these figures weren’t scary enough, 55 percent of consumers say they struggle at least 20 percent of the time. These figures are much too high if companies are hoping to increase sales and make their mobile apps worth their while.

No matter how enticing mobile payments, and shopping, may be, there is an enormous dissatisfaction with mobile apps among consumers. If retailers fail to address this problem, their revenue growth will be inhibited and customer loyalty will dwindle.

Mobile improvements

Don’t let these numbers get you down. Despite the frustration with mobile apps as they currently exist, consumers know what they want in terms of improvements. They want, among other things, in-app customer care. More than 90 percent of shoppers said it would be helpful to have customer care automatically provided within an app to help complete a task or goal. Additionally, shoppers are more likely to readily accept help when it is offered, providing a function that should be a no-brainer for retailers.

For those retailers who solve the problem, consumers indicate a strong willingness to reward them with more purchases and stronger loyalty. In fact, consumers will repeat business if they have a positive customer experience. More than 95 percent of shoppers said a seamless experience within an app would make more likely to do business with a company again and 77 percent of consumers will be more likely to return to that specific app.

So what will happen if you decide to withhold in-app customer care? Your customers (or would-be customers) will rat you out through a variety of channels. When customers have a poor experience, 95 percent of them will speak poorly of your company. The breakdown speaks for itself: 70 percent will tell friends and family when they have a poor customer experience, 43 percent will post a review on the company website or mobile app, 29 percent will share on their personal social network, and 23 percent will post a review on a third party website.

In-app customer care can provide customized solutions for consumers in a variety of ways, and also help your service representatives. It can provide access to previous customer service interactions, which saves your customer from having to repeat him/herself, gives your agents background on a particular customer, and gives everyone a full view of past buying experiences. Helping customers feel supported in such a way will lead to a 92 percent increase in likelihood of consumers to make purchases.

When shoppers struggle within your app, your revenue growth and brand loyalty are weakened. It’s likely you have invested a significant amount of time and money into your mobile solutions, and when shoppers turn away or abandon your app in frustration, no one wins. After all the other work it took to create your app, in-app mobile care will require minimal efforts to create a more complete shopping experience, delight your customers, and help you achieve the full potential of your mobile investment. 

Photo courtesy of Annie Mole

Topics: Handsets / Devices, In-App Payments, Mobile Apps, POS, Restaurants, Retail, Trends / Statistics

John Hibel
John Hibel is the Director of Marketing at Contact Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of effortless and sustainable cloud-based customer care solutions improved by business intelligence. View John Hibel's profile on LinkedIn

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