Consumers demand more product information when shopping on mobile

New m-commerce research published today by Stibo Systems, the strategic information management company, reveals that retailers need to work harder to improve their mobile offering.

Only 27% of consumers surveyed were satisfied with their mobile retail experience, with only 8.6% rating their experience as ‘excellent.’ Although an encouraging 30% of consumers are already using their mobile device to make a purchase, the remaining 70% represents a massive opportunity for retailers.

The findings, which feature in a new Stibo Systems’ whitepaper launched today entitled ‘UK Online Shopping Trends 2001: Product Information: the key to successful multi-channel retail strategy,’ highlight that while consumers want more detailed product information, whether this is product descriptions, sizes or codes, they still believe more could be done by retailers to improve their mobile offering.

Sixty seven per cent of respondents stated that their laptop was their preferred medium for online browsing and shopping. Comparatively 6% of people say their smartphone and 2% say their tablet suits them best. The research respondents outlined a number of reasons for their reluctance to embrace m-commerce including the small screen size making it too tricky (36%) and not trusting the security of the device (36%). Surprisingly, the younger generation were more anxious about the security of their device (53%) compared with the over 55+ (29%). The lack of product information was one of the most consistent reasons for not making a purchase across the age groups with 15% of consumers citing this as a reason.

Accessing detailed product information online is vital for those purchasing luxury retail brands; over two thirds of consumers (68%) rated product information as very important when purchasing high value goods. Interestingly, females indicated a stronger preference for accessing online product information (73%) when they are buying high value goods compared with 63% of males. Inaccurate or poor product information will affect sales and therefore the bottom line of a company; 16% of consumers cited poor product information as a reason for not making an online purchase.

Mark Thorpe, managing director UK at Stibo Systems, comments, “The sophistication of mobile devices, coupled with lifestyle shifts and the demand for quick, easy and seamless transactions means that m-commerce is now a reality. This research has found that people are beginning to place more trust in their mobile devices, while reaping the benefits such as convenient transactions, seamless movement between channels and the ability to compare prices and review products on the move. As a result, it is important that retailers do not ignore their mobile strategies and instead work hard to stay ahead of the game while driving revenue.

“Traditionally, retailers have viewed mobile as a means of completing sales. This needs to change; mobile is no longer just a purchasing tool, but also an experience. The key to success lies in ensuring each channel to market is underpinned by consistent and detailed product information. In order to sell products, regardless of platform, the one thing retailers must ensure is that product information is accurate, readily available and up-to-date. Consistency shows the customer that retailers can be trusted, ultimately leading to improved engagement and sales.”

Other key findings include: Nearly two thirds (60%) of respondents have used their mobile device (mobile phones and tablets) not only to browse products but also to review them online before purchasing; Interestingly it is the female population who are more likely to review products on a mobile device prior to purchase, with 45% stating that they did this; The majority of consumers are using their mobile device to purchase entertainment products (57%) followed by fashion (16%) and groceries (15%); There is a split between the genders when it comes to purchasing habits: over two thirds (65%) of men have used their mobile device to purchase an entertainment item, while females are three times as likely to purchase fashion good (27%) as men (8%); The 45-54 year age group is twice as likely to use a tablet to browse online as the 16-24 year age bracket.