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Research Uncovers Mobile Shopping Shortfalls

David Murphy

Businesses are lagging behind consumer expectations in the mobile shopping arena, according to a new study from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), carried out by the Customer Experience Foundation, and conducted in conjunction with Empirix, which specialises in “service quality assurance for new IP communications”.

The research points to an increasingly demanding consumer, who wants a mobile shopping experience now, without cost or security implications. Findings show that for mobile shopping to be successful, businesses need to be relevant, marketing to be permission-based, and personal data to be secure.

“All of the data indicates that more and more people will shop through their mobile phones more and more frequently of the next couple of years,” says Morris Pentel from the Customer Experience Foundation. “I think that we are underestimating the appetite for these services.”

The study, which surveyed 3,900 consumers and 1,600 professionals, also highlights the fact that as businesses attempt to catch up with mobile shopping solutions, there will be an increase in the complexity of network management, with customers experiencing increased levels of service breakdown. Businesses will also need to ensure that they have robust data security procedures in place, as the majority of consumers believe that security will worsen with the advent of new mobile technologies.

“As organisations respond to consumer demand and begin implementing new services, they will undoubtedly come up against increasingly complex networks and experience rising levels of service breakdowns,” notes Trevor Richer, marketing director, EMEA at Empirix. “This is certainly something that consumers will not put up with, and will simply increase churn levels, rather than reduce them. Without adequate testing and monitoring solutions, businesses will be unable to identify these potential problems or spot a glitch before it hits the end-user. While businesses need to work to meet consumer demand, it is also hugely important that businesses run end-to-end testing and 24/7 monitoring to ensure peace of mind when rolling out these new solutions.”

According to the research findings, despite 82 per cent of shoppers saying they want new mobile services, only 42 per cent of businesses say that they have a mobile strategy, and 14 per cent of organisations state that they have no plans to put a strategy in place. Of those with or looking at a mobile strategy, 75 per cent are unsure of how to deal with the cross-channel impacts in writing a business case for mobile. However, 82 per cent of businesses are working on mobile websites and apps, with the initiatives driven by marketers looking for new customers. All business respondents said they believe that mobile services will change the way that they do business.

Location-based marketing met with a mixed response, with the majority of consumers stating that they would like to receive promotional offers under the caveat that they are appropriate, sent when requested, or only if personal data is not revealed.

These concerns are echoed in attitudes to Near Field Communication (NFC), with the majority concerned about personal data. Nevertheless, the research highlights a growing appetite for NFC, which businesses are failing to keep up with; businesses highlight concerns about a lack of handsets to deliver critical mass, and concerns about compliance.

Despite the research highlighting a relatively mobile-savvy audience, less than a third of respondents have used QR codes, with 39 per cent of consumers having no knowledge of the technology.

“With almost half of consumers responding to mobile advertising going on to make some kind of purchase, it’s vital that mobile marketing, and indeed mobile shopping, is integral to the business and marketing plans of every organisation,” says Ross Caddy, research manager at the DMA. “However, for mobile shopping to be truly successful, businesses need to build trust in the medium through accurate targeting of relevant offers and implementing comprehensive data security measures.”