Poor Customer Service via Mobile Apps Leads to Brand Abandonment

Mobile shopping is growing at a rapid pace throughout the U.S., but not every app gives shoppers what they are looking for, and notoriously fickle customers won’t hesitate to abandon a brand based on a poor customer service perception. New research from Contact Solutions shows that consumers want convenience but feel mobile apps are failing them when they need help. For retailers deciding on where to put dollars in 2015, a seamless app experience with integrated customer service should be the first choice.

“Our latest research found that the next generation of mobile apps will need convenient in–app customer care not only to stave off cart abandonment, but to build brand loyalty as well,” said John Hibel, director of marketing, Contact Solutions, in a statement. “Even though retailers have started investing in mobile apps, shoppers are often left wanting more. When they are forced to switch channels to get the assistance they need, this fractures the brand experience and makes consumers far more likely to abandon shopping carts—and what’s more, they’ll often abandon the brand entirely. Losing shoppers due to a poor mobile experience is a real risk for retailers in 2015.”

The Contact Solutions shopper study “Mobile Spend in 2015” shows mobile has a growing influence on how shoppers feel about a brand in general, and that perception translates into their buying behavior as a whole.

Key findings include:

  • Customer care is key to growing adoption and making mobile apps sticky: Without good care consumers grow frustrated and many will even abandon a retailer entirely, not just the retailer’s app. When shoppers need help, they expect to get it immediately and effortlessly. If forced to stop what they’re doing and leave the app to get help, one out of four shoppers are not likely to make a purchase with the brand at all.
  • Showrooming is rampant, but preventable: 27 percent of shoppers prefer to do mobile shopping in the actual store where they are shopping, but 26 percent browse mobile while in a competitor’s store. Retailers can thwart showrooming at their brick and mortar locations by providing better care in–app care than their competitors.
  • App recommendations can help boost the bottom line: 23 percent of respondents said in–app recommendations would drive them to add more items to their cart and 33 percent said they would spend more time in the app.
  • The majority of shoppers have needed assistance in mobile apps: 81 percent of shoppers have needed assistance in a mobile app but only 12 percent used their mobile phone to get it. Why? It’s not available. Of those surveyed, almost half said they actively dislike leaving the app to get help.
  • Mobile is more sedentary than expected and happens in the home: Much of the mobile app experience happens in the comfortable, unrushed environment of the home, with 85 percent of shoppers preferring to shop there via mobile, even if other devices are close.
  • Deals and discounts still rule, but they don’t have to dominate: There are other ways to help brand image and increase repeat customers. 54 percent of shoppers said coupons and discounts would increase desire to be a repeat customer, but easier product comparisons (34 percent), the ability to get help (25 percent), and more ways to pay (29 percent) also help increase repeat business.

The Contact Solutions shopping habits survey was conducted via online survey during November of 2014. More than 1,800 adults representative of the U.S. consumer population responded to the online survey.

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