People use their smartphones for various purposes. They browse the Internet, listen to music, play games. But how many of us use this multifunctional device to make a purchase online?
The last time I tried to order a new stylish watch, I lost my temper after several unsuccessful attempts to tap in my contact details and card number with the smartphone’s tiny keyboard. This situation is so common that it has become a big problem in e-shopping, and it constantly makes online buyers irritated and retailers worried.
The process of purchasing physical goods on your mobile device is very frustrating. Many online customers complain that the pictures of products are small and indistinct, so you cannot examine the goods well. Moreover, it is very stressful and bothersome to follow the buying steps and enter the payment data. According to the researches carried out, nowadays people are using their mobile phones for searching goods and comparing prices, though they are not buying on their devices. Instead, they prefer to order products on desktops with a larger screen and a physical keyboard which remain more convenient for most e-shoppers.
The current situation brings quite deplorable results for both parties of online transactions. From one side, there is an increasing traffic to online shops coming from mobile phone users. But from the other side, retailers are not able to improve online sales by turning mobile visitors into their customers due to smartphone imperfections. Thus, industry experts are growing concerned about missing a big sales opportunity. Besides, this state of affairs is also unproductive for buyers, as they spend about three hours every day on mobile activities that are not connected to the main function of the phone—making calls.
When I tried to ask people on the street whether they use their smartphones to make online purchases, even iPhone users answered that their little mobile phone was not adjusted to shopping. Failed e-customers complained that entering a credit card number on their touchscreen was absolutely inconvenient.
This is especially embarrassing during the holiday-shopping season. According to research results published by ChannelAdvisor, the amount of traffic from mobile phones from Black Friday to Cyber Monday this year was twice as large as during the last year’s season. However, smartphone purchases equaled just a quarter of the total amount, while desktop computers brought in 60 percent of sales.
Regarding different data from Visa, only 20 percent of smartphone shoppers tend to complete their purchases after placing goods in the virtual cart. That differs greatly from the desktops figure, which is about 60 percent, and the tablet share which equals to 40 percent. The current situation with e-shoppers may be compared to the one when four out of five in-store customers change their minds standing in the checkout line and leave the store without any purchases.
Will it change?
Most of traditional retailers do not have widely used mobile apps and find it expensive to hire a group of professional developers, so the situation is changing slowly. However, there are leading companies that try to adjust their mobile web-sites for effective customer service.
As for today, Amazon and eBay have an obvious advantage over other traders’ slow mobile sites. These online retailers have popular apps that allow their buyers to store customer information, which makes the shopping process more convenient.
The leading kids store Toys “R” Us is working on simplifying the mobile version of its web-site and making smartphone checkouts easier. Although these efforts have lured more buyers to carry through with purchasing toys, there is still more work to do for improving the online shopping experience.
Social media such as Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook are starting to offer their users a “buy now” option on their sites to make online purchasing simpler.
Last year PayPal introduced its One Touch, which allowed customers to purchase goods on retail web-sites without re-entering their personal details. However, this service has not become popular among PayPal’s 173 million active accounts.
A similar concept is being developed by Visa. It is called Visa Checkout, but the number of satisfied customers of this service is tiny compared to the company’s 2.1 billion accounts.
Industry experts hope—and I would be glad to believe them—that all the mentioned efforts will help in making mobile devices a good commerce vehicle which people use for shopping without any irritation and disappointment.