August 12, 2010, 3:10 PM

Why more consumers aren’t buying with their smartphones

A new report offers retailers tips for overcoming obstacles to mobile holiday shopping.

Lead Photo

More than a third of all U.S. mobile consumers, about 80 million consumers, will use their mobile phones to help them shop this holiday season, but many won’t complete the purchase through the mobile channel, according to a new survey.

The survey of more than 1,100 consumers with web-enabled phones found that 32% felt the purchase process on their smartphone took too much time; 26% indicated transactions were too difficult to complete; 19% said products were too difficult to find; and 10% said their phones didn’t support secure credit card transactions. For others (16%), the roadblock was that they didn’t know how to make a purchase via mobile.

However, many of those obstacles can be overcome, according to e-commerce technology provider MarketLive Inc. 

In its report, “Mobile Marketing for the Holidays,” MarketLive suggests retailers create a mobile gift guide with a streamlined selection of popular products, including gift cards.

“The full breadth and depth of your product offering may be impressive when viewed on a desktop browser with guided navigation; but translating all of that information and functionality to a 4-inch screen is well-nigh impossible,” says the report.

The report points to Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s iPhone app last year that featured two services—a store locator and an electronics buying guide. By keeping it simple, Wal-Mart avoided overwhelming its target audience, women buying gadgets for their children, spouses and friends.

At the checkout stage, the report suggests retailers pre-populate as many fields as possible and eliminate any optional fields to speed the process. “This is not the time for collecting ‘nice to have’demographic information,” says the report.

The guide recommends merchants focus on what’s most important to holiday shoppers—shipping policies and delivery windows, store locators and cost-saving opportunities.   

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