How customers REALLY shop using Smartphones

Mobile on the goGoing mobile has become a business imperative.

New research has unveiled the way customers really use devices and highlights the importance Smartphones play in researching and purchasing may have previously been underrated.

The research shows that context and the user’s aims play a major role in the choice of device. Convenience is also an important factor. Understandably, the Smartphone is the device users reach for time and time again, even if the experience is better on a PC or tablet – their mobile is always within reach.

 

Many times we turn to the screen that is closest

 

Context drives device choice

 

Smartphones have by far the highest usage for daily interactions with digital media. However, the interaction doesn’t end there. People now use different devices either at the same time or sequentially in what we call ‘multi-screening’.

 

There are two modes of multi screening

 

So how does this effect online shopping behaviour? It is not as straight forward as a simple path from browse to purchase. Consumers flick between devices, using them for different purposes, depending on the context they’re in as well as the time they have available.

We often move from one screen to another when shopping

 

Most consumers (by a large majority) actually begin their shopping experience on their smartphone. They then continue the same shopping experience on their PC/laptop.

 

Consumers take a multi-device path to purchase

 

Why would so many users not continue to purchase your product on their phone?

- Context. If they’re on the bus or on-the-go it may just be inconvenient.

- Time. When people are bored and want to kill some time they’ll start browsing using their phone. This ‘pecking’ behaviour is often done in short bursts.

- Content. Most mobile sites are slimmed down versions of the PC version. Users know this and may postpone their purchase until they can get to a PC to read more about the product and see larger images, read reviews, etc.

- Ease of purchasing. Many sites still have overly long and complex checkout processes, requiring registration and card payment details. These forms are easier and faster to complete on a PC with less frustrating input errors.

- Trust. Some people are still wary of purchasing through a mobile device.


Smartphones are the most frequent companion devices during simultaneous usage

 

The user’s purpose has a large part to play in which device they use. Think about your business. Does it drive users to interact with your website via a particular device? Looking at the following slide we can see that for activities such as searching for information and browsing the web, users prefer to reach for their Smartphone. However, if they are planning a holiday they are less likely to use their phone. If you think about, planning a holiday takes a fair amount of time and research. It is a more complex use case that involves looking at multiple sites, information search, reading reviews, sharing details with friends and looking at large images.

 

Smartphones are the most common starting place for online activities

In summary, smartphones are the backbone of our daily media interactions. They have the highest number of user interactions per day and serve as the most common starting point for activities across multiple screens.

Businesses need to consider:

- Adjusting conversion goals to account for the differences in end user goals when using each device.

- Tailoring the user experience to each device to account for the differences in how users shop.

Going mobile has become a business imperative.

Read the original research by Google 

Why small businesses have the e-commerce UX advantage

“We invest in really good design and making our site simple. We found that people don’t spend very much time on a website when they get there so we need to compel people to make a decision right when they arrive.

As a small business you’ll be competing against companies that have far greater resources, your advantage is that you’re adaptable.”

Michael Winnike, founder of Happy Goat

Small businesses often don’t invest enough resources into their online presence, yet when it comes to User Experience, it’s small businesses that have the speed and flexibility to be able to adapt to customer needs much more quickly than their larger competitors and capture a greater market share.

A well designed website with a great user experience is even more important for the small business owner who relies on a good experience to encourage repeat business, larger order sizes and word-of-mouth recommendations. Many smaller businesses spend as little as possible on their website, without realising that your online presence is your shop front.

Imagine walking down the high street and seeing a shop that looks tatty on the outside. The paint is peeling off, the sign is difficult to read, items are crowded in the window and the door to enter is difficult to find. Would you go in? No. It’s exactly the same online. Make sure your logo is easy to read, your home page feels welcoming and not overcrowded, make it instantly obvious what you do and how the user can find and purchase your products – make it simple. You need to put a lot of effort into making your online presence an attractive experience that feels pleasant and easy. Your customers will reward you by buying more from you, returning more often and recommending your site to people they know. You’ll find you need to spend less money on marketing as customer recommendations are the most powerful marketing tool you could hope for.

Research your customers, research your competitors, find out what your customers need and want from a site selling your products/services, what are their expectations? The advantage you have over your larger competitors is you can adapt your site much more quickly. You can meet your user needs more easily. User experience really is your secret weapon – use it!

Watch the video below, where Michael Winnike, founder and owner of Happy Goat, talks about how he created a successful e-commerce experience for his customers.

Small business? Check out our usability evaluation service http://www.keepitusable.com/usability-evaluation