If you think about the psychology of making a purchase, there are normally a couple of key considerations that run through the mind of the average consumer. ‘Is this the best price, and, ‘do I trust the product provider to get it to me quickly and efficiently?’.
When all we had was the physical high street, shopping around meant hard work, and that in turn added value to the concept of loyalty once the customer found a retailer that could answer both of the above questions successfully.
We live in a different world, today. The much cited decline of the physical store and the rise of its younger, more agile sibling, the internet, means customer choice has reached unparalleled levels. In fact, I’d argue that the surge of online shopping, particularly driven by mobile, has opened up consumer choice to such a point that is has rendered brand loyalty a virtually redundant concept. And the phenomenon of social media recommendations and shared experiences mean a bad shopping experience will not just impact one customer but thousands when one instantly disses, or likes, a product to their friends and followers.
The fact is that eCommerce creates an extremely disruptive marketplace. Whereas the trusted high street provider worked hard to earn and keep my business, we are now seeing much faster turnover of customers, and a much more level playing field, with smaller brands using the internet as their vehicle to deliver the same products and services through lower prices or better user experiences – and consumers are a high flight risk, no matter the brand, when all elements on mobile are not right. It’s a tremendous opportunity for smaller brands, but trust and reputation are still important concepts, consumers now just think about them in very different ways.
Netbiscuits recently spoke to 6,000 consumers from six countries on their behaviors and attitudes towards the mobile web. It’s no secret that mobile is becoming a huge part of the retail shopping process. In our research, over two-thirds (68%) of global mobile users have spent money via their mobile phone over the last year, with 83% planning to spend money on goods via their mobile phone in the next 12 months. For marketers in charge of creating mobile websites, this means a huge responsibility to get it right first time, or lose out.
In fact, what we saw in our research was an overwhelming willingness for consumers to turn to a competitor’s website if they did not immediately get the experience they expected from a brand, with 91% claiming they had done so. While older respondents were less likely to head to a competitor website, the 18-34 age ranges did so frequently, leaving little room for brands to make any mistake. In fact, globally, over one third say that they often or very often head elsewhere if the experience is not what they are looking for.
Yet, there is evidence that we are moving from a state of ‘brand loyalty’ to one of ‘experience loyalty’. Here, it is the product or service which consumers develop affinity for, the provider becomes a secondary point of relevance due to the level of choice available. This means ever possible interaction, or what Forrester have dubbed the ‘mobile moment’ is of absolute importance. 80% of respondents identified that they have recommended a brand based on the mobile web experience, while 29% said that they do this often or very often.
Age, of course, is a huge factor. Brand recommendation peaks among the 18-34 range, decreasing among the elder statesmen, with the reverse pattern emerging for those who say they would not recommend a brand based on their mobile experience. This is the area marketers need to focus on because this trajectory suggests future patterns and the areas they need to consider when building tomorrow’s web experiences.
In summary, get it wrong your visitors will walk away, get it right and there is a good chance they’ll wax lyrical. Either way, you’re only as good as your last interaction and there are plenty of options for demanding mobile consumers out there.
Of course, all of the above creates a huge headache for marketers. How can you build an experience that works for everybody, across all devices and at all times? It isn’t easy, but the fact is that marketers have been flying blind on mobile for a long time and relying on guesswork to guide what they think constitutes a good experience for their visitors.
At the very first point, brands should stop with the guesswork and find out who your customers really are. That doesn’t mean holding a coffee morning, it means getting basic analytics data on what devices they use, what times of day, on what screen size and connection speed for example. From there, you can map that information with bounce rate and conversion to identify some simple but powerful trends.
It sounds ridiculously simple, but if you’re serving up videos to small screen users with poor connection speeds, the result will not be what you’re looking for. Mobile Analytics tools should not be targeted at data scientists but marketers who can quickly identify and action where the red flags are.
Build it and they will come is a dangerous philosophy at the best of times. Build it badly and they won’t come back is perhaps an even more worrying statement that seems to reflect the sentiment of the millenials accessing the mobile web today.
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