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Showrooming may be more of an opportunity than a threat, a ForeSee study finds.
Amazon.com Inc. is the leader among retailers in mobile commerce sales, according to the Internet Retailer Mobile 400, and it has staked out a leadership position in another area of mobile shopping—customer satisfaction. Amazon’s m-commerce site and apps scored 85 out of 100 on the “ForeSee Mobile Satisfaction Index: Holiday Retail Edition.” Apple Inc. and QVC U.S. tied for second with a score of 83.
Scores are calculated using a scientific methodology created by an economist at the University of Michigan. “The scores,” ForeSee says, “are a matter of degrees: On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you with X? A score of 80 is considered the benchmark for superior customer experience. A score below 70 is considered very weak.”
ForeSee, a web and mobile customer satisfaction measurement firm, surveyed 6,200 consumers between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2012. ForeSee says consumer satisfaction with mobile retail is improving, as the index average score climbed two points from 76 in 2011 to 78 in 2012.
Following Amazon, Apple and QVC, Newegg Inc. and Victoria’s Secret Direct scored an 80. Barnes & Noble Inc., Foot Locker Inc. and HSN Inc. registered a 79. And Costco Wholesale Corp., Hewlett-Packard Development Co., Kohl’s Corp. and SportsmansGuide.com scored a 78.
“The mobile platform is maturing much faster than the PC platform,” says Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. “We see it in the rate of consumer adoption, and fortunately we are seeing it in how well the top retailers are adapting to multichannel consumers who are embracing yet another powerful tool. Consumers expect retailers to provide a consistent and seamless experience, regardless of the channel.”
The holiday edition of the index also investigated the role of showrooming—the practice of examining merchandise and comparing prices with the assistance of a mobile device while in a store only to buy the same item online or via mobile from a competing retailer, often at a lower price. While nearly 70% of ForeSee survey respondents reported using a mobile phone while in a retail store during the 2012 holiday season, most of those consumers (62%) accessed that store’s site or app while 37% accessed a competitor’s site or app.
“Customers are using their mobile phones as integrated parts of their shopping experience,” says Eric Feinberg, senior director of mobile at ForeSee. “Mobile is the ultimate companion channel, making showrooming as much of an opportunity as it is a threat. Retailers need to engage their customers equally well through all channels, especially through mobile sites and apps, or risk losing customers and sales to competitors that do a better job of meeting their needs.”
The ForeSee holiday index also finds that:
- Customers rate their web experiences (79) very similarly to their mobile experiences (78).
- More than half of respondents visited a company’s web site as their first step while shopping (57%) and these customers were highly satisfied with that interaction (80).
- Only 6% reported visiting a company’s site or app via mobile phone as their first step while shopping, but they are a very satisfied group (80).
- Customers are more satisfied with their mobile experience with retailers than with financial services firms. In a similar study of mobile financial services conducted in November 2012, the average satisfaction score for the largest financial services companies’ mobile sites and apps was 77, trailing retailers, which scored 78 in the holiday index.