Mobile commerce is proving to be an exciting outlet for any retailer. As uptake of smartphones and tablets has increased, the benefits of providing an optimised service have become increasingly clear. With Ofcom’s announcement last December, in their International Communications Market 2012 report, that smartphone and tablet uptake had reached 58% and 19% respectively, it’s hardly surprising that the mobile commerce market is seeing increasing levels of consumer engagement. Well a piece of research from provider of e-commerce and digital marketing solutions EPiServer shows just how far this goes.
The UK MobileCommerce Report, which surveyed 1,000 consumers, found that approximately three-fifths of us now use our phones to access apps and mobile-optimised websites on a daily basis. And when it comes to which of these is better suited to driving sales, it seems optimised sites are coming out on top.
Even though hardcore m-commerce converts are fairly magnanimous, with 8% of smartphone users making daily purchases on both apps and optimised-sites, users who make purchases once a month or more tended to favour the latter – 51% plumped for optimised sites compared to just 40% for apps. Tablets offer an even more polarised picture, with 74% purchasing at least once a month through an optimised site versus 60% via an app.
All in all these are impressive figures but there are still some significant roadblocks to higher uptake. Perhaps inevitably, slow connection speeds are proving to be rather off-putting and almost half of consumers reported that they found it to be a problem. Difficult user experiences are also reported as a major turnoff – 37% of customers will refuse to use a poorly designed mobile site and 47% will delete an app that’s too hard to use. The fact that these figures have increased from 32% and 41% respectively shows that customers are increasingly fed up with ineffective design, throwing down the gauntlet for mobile developers to tighten up their offerings.
Perhaps one of the most interesting findings of the report however regards where consumers are actually accessing these services. Despite the conventional logic that states mobile commerce allows you to reach users on the go, the truth of the matter is that by far and away the most common place to access mobile sites is in the home, with nigh on two-thirds of consumers indicating they often browsed from the comfort of their living room. That said, public transport and the office still ranked highly – a third of respondents indicated they regularly browse in these places.
Clearly mobile commerce is becoming a big part of our lives. But it would be a big mistake to assume we’re already aware of everything there is to know.