March 29, 2011, 3:21 PM

Mobile transactions can be troubling, study finds

Most consumers report problems that are not unlike those encountered on the conventional web.

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84% of consumers who have conducted a mobile transaction via their mobile device in the last year have experienced problems, a new study finds.

While the mobile web and apps are different from the conventional web in many significant ways, the problems consumers are experiencing are not, says the Mobile Transactions Survey by Tealeaf Technologies, an online customer experience technology and services firm. Harris Interactive surveyed for Tealeaf 410 consumers who have conducted a mobile transaction in the past year. These mobile transactions were in the shopping, financial, travel and insurance sectors.

34% of respondents encountered an error message during a transaction; 29% said the app or mobile site was confusing and difficult to navigate; 23% reported trouble logging in; and 16% encountered insufficient, incorrect or confusing information.

Of adults who have experienced problems while conducting a transaction on their mobile device, 58% say a problem makes them feel “frustrated” and 49% say they feel “disappointed.” 25% say a problem makes them feel “angry.”

This is not good in the mobile medium, where consumers generally expect an experience that matches or exceeds experiences in other channels. For example, 47% of those who conducted a mobile transaction in the last year expect the experience on their phone to be better than the experience in-store.

“Smartphone users are so dependent and so married to their devices that they have very high expectations. And they buy into Apple advertising that says there isn’t anything they can’t do on their device,” says Geoff Galat, Tealeaf vice president of worldwide marketing. “Twenty years ago people had never done e-commerce before, so there was a significant learning curve. But today, as mobile has been adopted over the past few years, people already know how to do e-commerce handily and have just shifted e-commerce expectations over to mobile, which doesn’t afford mobile a learning curve at all because people’s expectations are so high. And this doesn’t give merchants a window of time to learn anything. They have to offer a near-perfect experience from the start.”

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