2012 has been a breakthrough year for omnichannel retail, as eCommerce has surged forward, while mobile commerce has finally achieved its mainstream breakthrough. Online retail sales are $29.3 billion this year, with mobile commerce growing by as much as 96% year over year in the holiday shopping period thus far.
But in the enormous volume of published data speaking to the phenomenal rise of mobile and eCommerce, one factor has been conspicuously absent: the Voice of the Customer. OpinionLab’s Holiday 2012 Site Opinion Findings analyze real-time shopper feedback across leading North American retail and eCommerce websites. The findings tell the story of an industry in transition and spotlight the increasing importance of mobile in guiding and structuring shopper behavior.
The Holiday 2012 Site Opinion Findings highlight the emerging impact of mobile commerce and shed some dramatic light on usage of smartphones and tablets in the online buying process. Prior to 2012, mobile devices were largely used for informational “snacking”—the consumption of short bits of information, such as product ratings, pricing comparisons, or user-generated reviews, often in conjunction with showrooming activity.
OpinionLab’s findings suggest, however, that Holiday 2012 shoppers eagerly embraced mobile devices as standalone purchasing platforms. When visiting an e-tailer’s mobile website, 42% of smartphone users indicated that their intent was to buy a product. Among tablet users, a still impressive 34% of shoppers expressed intent to buy a product during the course of their visit. Conversely, researching, browsing, pricing comparisons, and other pre-buying activities were largely confined to desktop and notebook sessions.
This is compelling evidence that shoppers are searching for frictionless mobile and eCommerce experiences, which will allow them to convert at the touch of a button or the swipe of a screen. But omnichannel retailers have a long way to go to fully realize the potential of the mobile channel. Despite the surge in mobile commerce activity this holiday season, shopper satisfaction on mobile devices was still significantly lower than on the desktop or notebook. Shoppers who bought on their smartphones posted a Site Opinion Rating of only 2.49, while shoppers who made purchases on their tablets posted an even less impressive Rating of 2.39. Much was made of the role of iPad in driving mobile sales this holiday season, but the Site Opinion Rating for tablet-using buyers was a stunning 32% lower than the overall Site Opinion Rating for all online shoppers (3.51).
In their rush to deploy mobile commerce strategies, omnichannel retailers need to increase their focus on the shopper experience. Mobile sites that require tablet users to excessively pinch, squeeze, zoom, and swipe to make a purchase are unlikely to drive higher satisfaction, loyalty, or basket value. Conversely, retailers that offer in-app purchasing on their iOS or Android apps must ensure that product selection and pricing match up with what the shopper sees in store, or they risk alienating their customers and drive them into the waiting arms of Amazon or another competitor.
Yet omnichannel retailers can draw comfort from the fact that channel performance evolves quickly, and this will certainly be the case with mobile. The Holiday 2012 Site Opinion Findings demonstrate just how far eCommerce in general has come in the past few years. Across all eCommerce sites, Site Experience Ratings surged dramatically on the biggest online shopping days. To cite two especially impressive examples, Site Opinion Rating rose to a peak of 3.88 on Cyber Monday and almost matched that high with a 3.86 rating on Green Monday. Both of these ratings were more than 10% higher than the average Site Opinion Rating during the holiday shopping period.
This speaks volumes about the increasing effectiveness and responsiveness of eCommerce sites. For many years, Cyber Monday was a day of horror stories, filled with heart-wrenching accounts of crashing websites, technical glitches, unfulfilled orders, and out-of-stock products. E-tailers have clearly made significant strides in executing on their technical, merchandising, and promotional promises. As shoppers make the historic transition to mobile, tuning into the Voice of the Customer will help omnichannel retailers avoid the eCommerce learning curve and deploy strategies to deliver remarkable mobile buying experiences in the months and years to come.
OpinionLab analyzed Voice of Customer feedback from over 43,000 real online shoppers from November 1 through December 11. Responses were gathered using OpinionLab’s patented opt-in research methodology, while satisfaction and experience scores were computed using OpinionLab’s proprietary Site Opinion Rating system, which is weighted to reflect the key drivers of satisfaction, loyalty, and repurchase intent in the eCommerce and retail industries.
tags: data mobile omnichannel retail tablet