Brands failing mcommerce test

23 September 2011

LONDON: The vast majority of brand owners and retailers in France, Germany, the UK and US are not currently matching consumer expectations regarding mobile commerce, a study has revealed.

Empirix, the digital technology company, and the Customer Experience Foundation, surveyed 7,829 adults and 2,403 business executives in these four nations.

In terms of the reasons people use smartphones, shopping was the eleventh most popular activity, behind making calls, texting, accessing social networks, banking, checking the weather and other pastimes.

However, 91% of consumers anticipated the new range of mcommerce tools would offer enhanced convenience, reaching 90% for saving time and 68% concerning enhanced service quality.

A further 62% predicted better prices should result from the development of such services, but only 35% thought security was likely to improve, versus 39% expecting greater risks to emerge.

Overall, 77.8m Americans, or 25% of the population, were found to "frequently" utilise their phone to buy goods and services, defined as having done so at least five times every six months.

In the UK, some 16.7m people, or 27% of the potential audience, participated in this pastime with the same regularity, figure that stood at 22.8m and 35% in France, and 16.8m and 21% in Germany.

Two-thirds of this group in the US and Germany had purchased apps or ringtones, coming in at 62% for France and 59% in the UK. More than a third had also bought entertainment content.

On average, 9.8% of highly engaged mcommerce users had acquired food and household goods in this way, peaking at 18% in the US, while 13% reported completing transactions in the travel category.

In all, 94% of UK companies did not have an end-to-end service assurance strategy for mobile commerce, hitting 89% for American firms, 85% for French vendors, and 76% among the German companies featured.

"The mobile shopping revolution has arrived, but the gap that exists between consumer expectations and business plans will significantly impact customer satisfaction," said Professor Morris Pentel, chairman of the Customer Experience Foundation.

At present, 88% of brand owners are investing in mobile CRM, standing at 55% for optimised websites, 51% for SMS marketing, 33% for apps and 32% for QR codes, the study added.

Data sourced from Empirix; additional content by Warc staff