Obviously the vision of a purely mobile “always and everywhere” shopping experience has not yet hit home with users. Once customers have used their smartphone to find a product that they would like to buy, 88 percent of them then switch to a desktop environment and complete the purchase there. This rate of switching is similar for tablet users at 82 percent. These are the results of research conducted in the US by Yahoo and Kenshoo.
It also determined that mobile devices are primarily used at home. 84 percent of smartphone owners and 92 percent of tablet users use their mobile devices to conveniently search for products and services and compare prices on the couch at home. They then switch to their desktop PCs for binding business transactions like purchases.
This may be at least partially due to security concerns with regard to transmitting sensitive data, but also reflects a preference for the better overview provided by larger monitors. Frustration is also a decisive factor when conducting comprehensive, comparative research across multiple providers using mobile devices. Only 50% of the marketers surveyed for the study provide a site optimized for smartphones. For those interested in purchasing, this means that they repeatedly encounter shops, which have not been optimized for mobile devices. Navigation on such sites can be challenging in itself.
However, this trend toward multi-screen commerce places even more demands on shop owners. For example, virtual shopping carts must remain filled across media. If customers have placed products in their cart on their smartphone, then thy should be able to complete the purchase on another device without having to place the products in their cart again. Advertising also has to be designed with the use of various devices and their properties in mind.
19 percent of the marketers surveyed for the study admitted that their company lags far behind the trend toward multi-channel behaviour of customers. Only seven percent of the respondents choose different approaches to develop keyword lists by the type of device, and only 15 percent write ad text that is customized based on the device type.
More surprising still is the information published by the consumer advice centre of North Rhine-Westphalia, which indicates that the desktop and mobile versions of many shops are poorly synchronized. Based on random sampling, the consumer advice centre revealed that, in addition to many products, special offers that can be seen on the desktop do not exist on the mobile version. On top of this, prices sometimes change inexplicably during the shopping process so that different prices are shown in the shopping cart than were shown while searching for products.
In ten of the tested shops, which included the renowned providers Cyberport, Otto and Technikdirekt, prices even differed during the purchase process. Some products were much cheaper in the desktop version than in the mobile version at the same provider. It could not be determined whether this is the result of two-tier price models or technical problems.