September 17, 2012, 1:12 PM

Amazon, Apple and Avon get top marks in mobile commerce

The average mobile shopping score for 20 large online retailers is 79 out of 100.

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Online retail behemoth Amazon.com Inc. is widely known for its easy-to-use e-commerce site that often scores high marks in consumer satisfaction. Now a new poll from market research firm ForeSee finds that the retailer is a leader in the mobile commerce realm as well.

Amazon receives the highest marks with a score of 84 out of a possible 100 in the new ForeSee Mobile Satisfaction Index.  It is followed by Avon (83) and Apple (82). Scores ranged from 76 to 84 and nearly half of the retailers scored 80 or above, which ForeSee considers to be a benchmark for excellence.

The research, based on 4,500 customer surveys ForeSee conducted in August, measures the mobile experience of both sites and apps for 20 of the largest retailers on the web, including Amazon, Apple Inc., Best Buy Co., eBay Inc., Groupon, Target Corp. and Walmart.com.

ForeSee says retailers still have some catching up to do to make shopping their mobile sites and apps as easy and enjoyable as their e-commerce sites. ForeSee, which measures satisfaction across multiple channels, finds that consumer satisfaction with mobile shopping lags significantly behind traditional retail web satisfaction. Part of the reason for this, ForeSee says, is because retail sites appear fairly uniformly across standard PCs and laptops, while it’s more difficult to create a consistent experience among mobile devices. That’s because there are dozens of varieties of mobile screen sizes, operating systems, hardware specifications and loading speeds.

In a comparison of mobile satisfaction scores to web satisfaction scores (as reported on ForeSee’s Online Retail Satisfaction Index in spring 2012), nearly all of the top retailers perform better on traditional web sites.

“Consumer expectations of the mobile experience are set by their experience on PCs and laptops,” says Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. “But where there are limitations on screen size and configuration, there are advantages to the touchscreen interface first popularized by Apple’s iPhone and iPad. If companies can innovate and optimize the mobile platform, there’s no reason the mobile experience can’t surpass the web.”

Meeting consumers’ mobile expectations is important to grow mobile sales, ForeSee says. Satisfied customers are 69% more likely to make a purchase using their mobile devices, 72% more likely to recommend the retailer, and 58% more likely to visit the mobile site or app again than dissatisfied customers, ForeSee finds.

The new research also finds:

•           App users are slightly more satisfied (with an average satisfaction score of 80) than mobile web users (a score of 79). 68% of consumers polled had used a retailer’s mobile web site, while 32% had used a retailer’s app.

•           Netflix had the highest number of app uses (59%), followed by eBay (53%), Groupon (52%) and Walgreens (48%).

•           First-time users of a mobile site or app tend to be less satisfied with mobile shopping as they learn new layouts, navigation and functionality. The satisfaction score for new visitors is 77 compared to 80 for repeat visitors.

•           Customers already familiar with a brand are more satisfied than consumers who discover a retailer’s mobile site or app via search engines or shopping comparison sites.

•           The most common mobile tasks include: looking up product details (28%), looking up price information (19%) and checking stock at a store (17%).

“The mobile platform is maturing much faster than the web in its early days, and more consumers are interacting with companies and brands via mobile devices every day,” Freed says. “Customers experience the web differently on mobile devices, and companies that do not measure the mobile experience miss an opportunity to solidify customer loyalty and risk losing customers to companies that do.”

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