How steep are the barriers to smartphone checkout?
While mobile has certainly expanded exponentially as a purchase influencer, consumers remain reluctant on pulling the trigger to make actual purchases. A university study explores a number of reasons why.
Many of the concerns from consumers were found to relate to screen size, including not being able to see the full picture on a mobile app, missing out on special offers or overlooking hidden costs, according to researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA). Privacy and security concerns can also motivate people to put items into their shopping baskets, but then quit without paying.
Analysis of 2016-2017 online shopping data from consumers in Taiwan and the U.S. similarly found that shoppers are much more likely to use mobile apps as a way of researching and organizing goods rather than as a purchasing tool, which also contributes to checkout hesitation.
“Our study results revealed a paradox,” said Dr. Nikolaos Korfiatis, of Norwich Business School at UEA. “Mobile shopping is supposed to make the process easier, and yet concerns about making the right choice, or about whether the site is secure enough leads to an ’emotional ambivalence’ about the transaction — and that mean customers are much more likely to simply abandon their shopping carts without completing a purchase.”
The results, published in the Journal of Business Research, show that consumers are much less likely to abandon their shopping baskets if they are satisfied with the choice process. App designers can help by minimizing clutter to include only necessary elements on the device’s limited screen space and organizing sites via effective product categorization or filter options so consumers can find products more easily.
Other strategies that might prompt a shopper to complete a purchase include adding special offers, or coupons for a nearby store, at the checkout stage.
“Retailers need to invest in technology, but they need to do it in the right way, so the investment pays off,” added Dr. Korfiatis. “Customers are becoming more and more demanding and, with mobile shopping in particular, they don’t forgive failures so offering a streamlined, integrated service is really important.”
- Proceed to checkout? Not on your mobile, say researchers – University of East Anglia
- Mobile shopping cart abandonment: The roles of conflicts, ambivalence, and hesitation – Journal of Business Research
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What suggestions would you have for improving conversion rates on smartphones? Do you see the “emotional ambivalence” about making purchases on mobile devices identified in the study as a long-term challenge for mobile shopping?