Let’s start with the obvious, mobile is becoming a place we go to buy things on a regular basis. In my native Poland, 58% online shoppers were using smartphones to complete the purchase (study by Gemius, 2018). The statistic seems to correspond with common sense, same as that fact that e-commerce owners are focusing on mobile experience. But do they?
The same study shows frustrations many users have with their mobile retail experience. For over 2/3 of online shoppers one of the biggest complaints about shopping on mobile devices is tied with poorly designed mobile web experiences. Further, 60% have difficulties with long forms and 40% think that the number of steps in the buying process is unnecessarily long. Lastly, over 1 in 3 buyers reports difficulties with payments on mobile devices. The same image appears from the research we are doing for our customers at Mobee Dick. Mobile is not perceived as a fast and simple medium for shopping but rather as a stressful must which multiplies the risk of errors.
The real world of m-commerce
Our studies show that the real world of mobile shopping revolves amongst the most common brands such as Zalando, Booking.com or even Uber which is being considered as a mobile commerce service. These are the applications people tend to have installed on their phones. Less common brands are accessed through mobile websites and treated with reserve.
On the other hand, Polish customers are frequent users of the payment apps with SkyCash ( the ticket’s platform) being used over 2 million times a month and BLIK,(the Polish mobile payments system) used over 150 000 times daily. Same goes for mobile banking which surpasses 10 million active users. Conclusion? The problem does not lie with the risk of using mobile to transfer money but rather in the whole process of mobile shopping.
New channel, old ways
In analyzing the purchase process in general we have to understand some basic truths:
- Payment is the most important part of the process – it defines a purchase of a product.
- Payment is completely transparent to the online shoppers, they view it as a part of the process and follow known patterns.
- Mobile shopping, the supposed new focus of e-commerce, still follows the same experience as a supermarket.
Navigating the mobile shops is usually as hard as finding that one product we came for at the supermarket. Special offers attacking from everywhere, weird product grouping logic that tends to change from time to time, a huge number of products to browse through, that’s only the beginning. The experience still isn’t where it should be. Both, in a local supermarket and in an m-commerce shop we have to follow the adding to cart – going to checkout scheme even with a single product. Completing the purchase is not that simple either with promo codes, loyalty programs, financing options, delivery/packing choices etc. Then the payment method choice does not make it easy with fast transfers, even faster mobile payments, smart wallets and card payments being the final threshold. All of these steps when, according to Google and their partners, up to 80% of all mobile shoppers buy just the one product they came for.
Simplifying the process
The key to improving mobile shopping is:
- reducing the number of steps users need to take,
- standardizing the parts that are perceived as transparent, and thus, don’t add any value to the customer’s experience,
- changing way of thinking when it comes to developing and managing an online store.
A great example of such an approach is Google’s Payment_Request service presented in detail at Google I/O 2017. Google offers an open interface of seamless checkout combining user data, delivery and payment options. Importantly, Google’s solution keeps the e-commerce ecosystem intact integrating with different payment and delivery services. Same goes for the user data usually being collected at the shop’s side which Google can share with the merchant. The goal is to become a standard open to any platform, browser or application. Shopping on a mobile, web or in the app can have the same checkout experience keeping the simplicity and consistency throughout different shops and channels.
The next step of e-commerce
As shopping moves from the desktop to mobile and the process becomes more and more simplistic, we need to look at what’s ahead. Website voicebot.ai reports that in the USA around 50 million people have used smart speakers to complete a purchase. Moreover, over 5 million of them use speakers to buy products on a day to day basis. Voice and chatbots will be taking over the interaction of users with e-commerce, further increasing the need for a streamlined purchase process. In this changing environment, eCommerce must prove to be adaptive and create new experiences for completely new customer scenarios.