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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : January 10, 2018

Research boosts understanding of high rates of mobile cart abandonment

Titter ye not - size really does matter - at least when it comes to making an online purchase. Academic research points to an 'emotional ambivalence' among consumers using mobile for online shopping caused by, among other things, the small screen size.

by Helen Leggatt

While statistics show that almost half of global e-commerce traffic in Q2 2016 came from mobile devices, the same research also found that conversion rates were pretty dismal. Just 27% of purchases begun on a mobile device were completed.

Emotional Ambivalence

Researchers from the University of East Anglia (UK) wanted to know what it is about mobile that causes such a high percentage of abandoned purchases. By analyzing online shopping data from the US and Taiwan, they revealed in the report 'Mobile shopping cart abandonment: The roles of conflicts, ambivalence, and hesitation' what one of the researchers, Dr Nikolaos Korfiatis, called a 'paradox'.

"Mobile shopping is supposed to make the process easier, and yet concerns about making the right choice, or about whether the site is secure enough leads to an 'emotional ambivalence' about the transaction - and that mean customers are much more likely to simply abandon their shopping carts without completing a purchase," said Korfiatis.

While its portability and convenience lures prospective buyers to use the mobile channel, the result of those benefits is a small screen size which, says the study, makes shoppers hesitate and worry they are not seeing the full picture and thus unaware of hidden costs or special offers.

This, coupled with concerns about site security, leads to 'emotional ambivalence' causing most to abandon a purchase and likely continue when using a bigger screen. However, with consumer hesitation on mobile high, the opportunity of generating an impulse purchase on mobile is limited.

Study Recommendations

How can the mobile experience be improved to limit hesitation? The study concludes that, in order to reduce cart abandonment, consumers need to be satisfied they have made the right choice and those aspects of the mobile experience that elicit a negative state of mind must be minimized.

According to the research, this can be achieved by paring down a mobile site or app's design to include only those elements that are absolutely necessary. This will create an environment in which the mobile experience feels wholly contained within a small screen and alleviate any doubts of missing out.

Furthermore, the study recommends "presenting the most preferable products first, based on consumers' individual preferences, current location or shopping habits". Finally, "the serendipity and unexpectedness of a contextual offer can increase consumers' positive affect, triggering the shopping motivation" and could include time-limited offers or mobile coupons for a nearby store to encourage instant purchases.

Tags: apps, cart abandonment, ecommerce, mobile marketing, mobile shopping, online shopping, research

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