The survey, which was sponsored by shopcoffeetable.com, a company that aims to bring retail catalogues to the iPad, reported that Barclay Capital found Mobile commerce sales in the United States are expected to hit $5.3 billion in 2011, up 83 percent from a year ago and a recent Adobe survey found that 62 percent of respondents had bought some physical goods online using a smart phone in the previous 6 months.
It’s no coincidence then that the e-tailing group also found that 77 percent of retailers report they will be investing in mobile in 2011.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s one thing to build something, it’s another matter to keep people on your site, and in fact, users have reported they are less than thrilled so far with early attempts at mobile retail experience.
The key data point here is that 49 percent of respondents reported an awkward shopping experience on the phone. Ouch. What’s more, 31 percent reported slow connection or connectivity issues and that’s a crucial statistic for readers of this blog.
Slow connection or connectivity issues could be due to a lot of factors from phone networks, to antenna issues on the phone or simply being out of range of a cell tower or WiFi connection, but it could also be due to factors the web site owner can control.
The only way to understand how well your web site is performing in this instance is to monitor that performance using web site performance tools. There are always going to be factors out of your control, but your job is to make the visitor’s experience as smooth as possible whether they come from a desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone.
If you aren’t monitoring these factors, you are missing an opportunity to improve that web site visitor experience, and while this survey clearly shows that people want to use their phones and tablets to make purchases online, eventually they are going to judge sites harshly that don’t provide an optimal experience.
It’s always a good idea to take vendor surveys with an bit of skepticism. After all, they are asking the questions and looking for the answers that will present their products in the most favorable light. They probably aren’t going to release data that makes them look bad.
But this data makes sense in its own way simply because if a visitor has a poor experience because of long load time waits, chances are they might try another site.
One way to improve that experience is to use hard data to find ways to fix issues whenever possible, and keep those types of negative encounters to a minimum because the the faster you can make that mobile retailing buying experience, the more successful you are likely to be.