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December 9, 2014

Gone in three seconds – slow retail apps put off shoppers

Research also highlights the increasingly multichannel approach to buying habits.

By Ellie Burns

A survey of 2,470 UK smartphone and tablet owners has found that 36% would abandon a slow mobile experience and shop elsewhere if it fails to load in three seconds or less, compared to 46% in the US and France or 20% in Germany.

The survey, conducted by TNS on behalf of Dynatrace, also found that 44% of UK smartphone users will do most of their shopping online or through their mobile devices; while a further 31% will use a combination of mobile, online and in-store.

"The message from these findings is loud and clear: mobile is a primary sales channel and customers are very unforgiving over a poor experience," said Erwan Paccard, Solution Marketing Manager Mobile & Omni-channel at Dynatrace.

"During the run up to the biggest sales period of the year, this signifies a huge risk to retailers. Digital channels demand an equally strong level of planning and commitment as physical stores. The good news is, when they are well executed, websites and mobile apps barely need additional staff on duty for this important period."

The research also highlighted the increasingly multichannel approach to buying habits. 56% of UK smartphone owners said they will use their smartphone or tablet to compare prices, download coupons and read reviews whilst shopping in-store.

64% of UK respondents aged 16-34 said they would search for deals on their mobile while in-store, compared to just 36% of 55-64 year olds, suggesting that it is a trend that will grow over time.

61% of consumers said that they are likely to browse for products in-store, which they will later purchase on their smartphone, tablet or laptop; again, this figure grew to 65% amongst the 25-44 age bracket.

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"As a retailer, you really can’t think of your customers as web, or mobile or in-store; they are probably using all three. The US is often a key indicator of where the market is going in terms of technology adoption and consumer behaviour," Paccard concludes.

"From the adoption of mobile apps over mobile websites, through to the growing use of mobile in all aspects of the buyer journey, mobile is a strategic medium for retailers. Yet the research shows that customer expectations vary across geographies with a general trend towards a multichannel approach; combining online, mobile and in-store in order to find the best deals."

"As such, brands need to think carefully about their digital strategy across channels to ensure they deliver a seamless and consistent experience to customers, regardless of how they choose to shop and browse."

The UK survey was repeated by local research agencies in other regions, including France and Germany, and a separate survey was also conducted in the United States by Harris Poll, helping to provide a global perspective on consumer buying trends.

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