Mobile Shoppers Seek Improved In-App Customer Care

Most retailers fail to offer the level of in-app customer care necessary to satisfy and retain customers.

Though retailers are well aware of the shift from brick-and-mortar to online shopping, consumers are now gravitating toward mobile applications, as the 'on the go' lifestyle often renders these price-conscious individuals pressed for time. Yet, while retailers understand the reason behind these emerging behaviors, most fail to offer the level of in-app customer care necessary to satisfy and retain.

Contact Solutions' "Mobile Shopping Cliffhanger" report examines growing trends in the mobile shopping space by identifying the gaps in retail apps that typically lead to dissatisfaction and churn. The survey, which polled 1,000 U.S. shoppers, reveals that, while 3 out of 4 consumers shop online, 30 percent shop on mobile at least as often as they do via their computers, highlighting the increasing allure of mobile shopping apps. Yet, despite this trend, few retailers provide satisfactory in-app customer care-an element shoppers value very highly, which will inevitably hinder revenue growth and customer loyalty.

The following statistics demonstrate the mobile shift in shopper behavior and the importance of in-app customer care:

  • Thirty percent of shoppers choose brick-and-mortar stores for less than half of their everyday shopping, with 52 percent doing more than half their online shopping with online-only retailers.
  • One out of every 6 consumers say they struggle with mobile shopping apps more than half the time, while 55 percent of shoppers struggle with said mobile apps at least 20 percent of the time. Of those who struggle, 71 percent admit that they'll abandon their carts or leave the app entirely.
  • While 75 percent of consumers say the ability to get customer care impacts their shopping experience satisfaction, 39 percent are disappointed by the inability to get in-app assistance. Overall, 92 percent say it would be helpful to have customer care automatically provided in-app.
  • Shoppers agree that, if offered seamless in-app customer care, they'd be more likely to return to the app (77 percent) and more likely to do business with the given company again (95 percent).
  • Of those shoppers who have had poor retail experiences, 95 percent will not hesitate to share their stories by telling friends and family (70 percent), posting reviews on the company website (43 percent) or third-party pages (23 percent), and sharing via personal social network (29 percent).

Key takeaway: While 1 out of every 10 shoppers already prefer mobile apps exclusively for their online shopping, most seek an experience that mimics what they're used to on the Web, generates personalized offers, and provides fast and easy customer care. However, few retailers have invested in creating the sort of service environment this growing group seeks. By developing in-app customer care, retailers will not only encourage in-app purchases, but discourage app abandonment, as well, for consumers are more likely to remove themselves from the equation if their high expectations aren't met. Online shopping via the Web has seen vast improvements over the years, with the addition of advanced support options, such as live chat and self-service. Thus, shoppers are accustomed to having said tools at their immediate disposal. By integrating similar support elements in-app, retailers have the opportunity to enhance brand experience, boost loyalty and stickiness, and cultivate positive sentiment that will likely extend the given company's mobile reach even further.