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Why Consumers Don’t Purchase More on Mobile

Mobile is becoming incredibly popular, there’s no doubt about it. But why is it that consumers still prefer shopping on a PC over a mobile device? Here are a few of the issues that have been preventing shoppers from leaving their desktops behind and taking to mobile shopping.

There Are So Many Options

Just because mobile connections are becoming ever more popular, that doesn’t mean conventional methods are no longer preferred. Consumers are still more comfortable conducting their research and purchases via desktops and laptops. According to a 2014 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper whitepaper, 44% of online shoppers use a desktop or a laptop computer for their online purchases, and 41% prefer a physical store. This leaves only 7% shopping via tablet, 4% through a catalog, and 4% shopping via smartphone.

But that doesn’t mean that a shift to mobile purchasing won’t eventually pick up speed. Just as shopping transitioned from brick-and-mortar stores to e-commerce platforms, we can expect that over time we’ll see a slow mobile migration.

The Challenge With Adequate Presentation

The transition to mobile is further stunted by additional challenges presented by a mobile platform. The top reason consumers shy away from mobile is a lack of a clear product image. Lack of a clear image lowers buyer confidence and presents challenges when comparing products. In addition, the small screens of mobile devices make it impossible for users to enlarge images, and the requirement to pinch and zoom combined with aberrant and unintended clicks due to tight link spacing is frustrating. Small text and having to enter information on small mobile devices was another source of angst. Data use is also a concern among online shoppers, along with a lack of trust when entering payment and personal information on a mobile device.

Mobile users tend to scroll more, making click requirements of retail sites that are not mobile-centric even more challenging. Users can also be put off when viewing a mobile site that is drastically different from its desktop version.

The Strength Is Not in the Numbers

According to eMarketer’s recent benchmarking review of 47 research firms and government institutions, total retail sales are projected to grow to 5.5 trillion by 2018, but out of this pie, mobile commerce is only on track to grow to 2.4% of total retail sales by 2018.

Given the myriad devices with varying screen sizes, operating systems, and other disparities, app development is both expensive and challenging for the online retailer. Although mobile devices have an edge over desktop and brick-and-mortar shops from an accessibility and convenience standpoint, there are still a great many challenges presented to the consumer. Challenges like screens size and security hinder mobile from taking over a larger portion of total retail sales.

This point-of-sale data leads us to believe that mobile holds little value for e-commerce, but let’s not forget about the rest of the buying journey. Consumers use mobile to research and make their buying decisions, then make their actual purchase in-store or on a desktop. Meaning, mobile should not be forgotten.

Mobile shopping is on the rise and developers are finding new and innovative ways to face the challenges presented by a mobile experience at point-of-sale, as well as in the research stage.

Category: Marketing
Tags: Consumers, E-Commerce, Online Shopping

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