Study Shows Mcommerce Customer Experience Needs Improvement

More merchants are getting their feet wet with mcommerce, but how well are they doing with the channel?

The E-tailing Group’s First Annual Mobile Commerce Mystery Shopping Study, conducted in the third quarter, shows that merchants are doing some things right with mobile – but the overall experience needs improvement.

For one thing, mobile merchants are helping customers find a store, contact customer service and make a purchase. But they aren’t helping consumers check a store for product availability, search for a product or buy a gift.

Find a store functionality received the highest grade, a seven out of 10. The study concluded that most merchants have retail locators in place, though opportunity for more complete information and geo-location would improve the experience.

A high percentage of merchants have some cross-channel profile integration, enabling the prepopulation of at least a portion of the required information during checkout. But across the board, the ability to make a purchase received a six out of 10 because too many errors and technical difficulties made checkout frustrating.

Customer service received a six out of 10. The survey concluded that accessible, clickable contact information for the mobile user on-the-go is not being consistently or universally implemented.

Search was a black mark: It received a three out of 10. That’s because of reduced penetration of search functionality and limited sort options. The Etailing Group notes that this shows a failure to truly understand the needs of the on-the-move customer who has limited time and is constrained by the less then optimal performance of their mobile device.

Mobile merchants also gave fewer options to on-the-go gift givers, which is why it received a three out of 10.

The majority of merchants who offer cross-channel services execute store product availability well. But the fact that you can’t use these tools on so many sites does not live up to the “drive-by” potential of mobile, which is why it received an overall two out of 10.

The shoppers benchmarked 150 metrics on 50 mobile websites in 13 product categories. Each of the sites was tested on an iPhone, and 25 of the sites were also tested for Blackberry compatibility.