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Comment: M-Commerce – Don’t forget data entry!

Consumers need easy input of their personal data at the point of purchase online to reduce the risk of cart abandonment. By Emma Gooderham


Comment: M-Commerce – Don’t forget data entry!

Consumers need easy input of their personal data at the point of purchase online to reduce the risk of cart abandonment. By Emma Gooderham

Consumers are increasingly using mobile technology for ease and speed, and with Juniper Research predicting a 40% increase in mobile payments by 2015, it is clear that accessibility to e-tail sites on the go has become a vital tool for any successful retailer.

In recognising the  importance of M-commerce, retailers have dedicated huge resource to in ensuring that their mobile e-tail sitesapps are easily navigated- often investing in Quick Response (QR) code technology to assist. The minute the customer decides to make a purchase; however, it becomes clear that the attitude of facilitating m-commerce has not yet permeated to the basket pages. Consumers, having loaded and navigated the easily, are then forced to enter all of their billing and delivery address details line by line on an awkward mobile keypad or touch screen. As such, the risk of lost patience and abandoned baskets becomes very real.

Emma Gooderham therefore argues that before retailers put all their eggs in the M-Commerce basket, they must first ensure that their e-tail site is geared up to allow for not only smooth presentation and use, but also effective and rapid data entry.

Just not thinking
Excitement over the rise of M-commerce is not misplaced. Indeed, Verdict & Ovum predict industry will double in size within the next two years, from £123m to £275m. Today around a fifth of mobile phones in the UK are smartphones, but by 2014 that proportion will have risen to one in three, according to eMarketer. These figures demonstrate mobile commerce as a massive opportunity for organisations, but the potential to get it wrong is enormous.

Retailers dedicate huge resources to designing versions of their websites that display well on a mobile devices and will put great thought into its usability and navigation. Despite these efforts to reduce the risk of customer patience wearing thin however, these same retailers will often give little thought into providing ease of data entry in the purchase process.

Mobile challenges
No two channels are the same, and indeed each route to market has its own nuances and key points that a retailer must get right.
For mobile, the key differentiator between those that who will harness the opportunity effectively and those that will not, will be how easily consumers can browse and select items and then, crucially, order them. With its small screen and keyboard, it can be difficult to enter several lines of an address on a mobile device. And even if completed, the opportunity for people to make mistakes is high.

Mobile application developers should therefore be looking for ways to make it easy for customers to input and verify address details, such as postcode lookup software, where the mere entry of a postcode results in the full, and crucially, correct, address being pre-populated.

Reduce the errors and improve loyalty
Without ease of data entry, patience can wear thin, resulting in the customer abandoning the basket  or using a competitor’s site that is geared up to simplify data entry on the move.
Implementation of postcode address lookup can significantly simplify data entry- removing  on average 80% of the keystrokes required to input an address, according to Marketing Sherpa.

The opportunity to verify an address means that payments are less likely to be refused when the billing details are incorrect, incurring the lack of patience problem again, and misdeliveries will reduce. Shopprs, are unlikely to blame themselves for misdeliveries due to incorrect input, instead pointing the finger at the retailer  that failed to deliver their goods.

To provide some scale to the problem, Royal Mail receives 70,000 undeliverable items to their depot every day.

Don’t miss
Retailers may well be tempted to just allow the usual online payment processes to be replicated on the mobile channel, but the two channels have to be considered separately. The data input difficulty alone renders a duplication of approach fundamentally undermined, meaning brands run the risk of lost customers and/or undeliverable items hitting their bottom line and damaging their brand name.

But give customers seamless service which ensures the experience is as practical on the move as it is in their homes and customers will return and you won’t drive  them, disgruntled, into the hands of your nearest rival.

Emma Gooderham is Managing Director of

'Mobile-The Biggest Opportunity In Multichannel Retail' will be a panel discussion and interactive Q & A Session at the Retail Bulletin's 3rd Multichannel Summit 2012.  This panel will include speakers from Halfords,, o2 Telefónica and 2ergo.
Held in London and sponsored by eDigitalResearch, the Summit is retailer-led and other confirmed speakers include, Schuh, Santander UK plc, Marks & Spencer,, Game Group,  Alexon Group plc, Everything Everywhere, Joules Clothing, Adnams Plc, eDigitalResearch, Collect Plus, Norbert Dentressangle.

The event was sold out this year so don’t miss out – register now and make a diary note to join your peers on February 1st 2012. Click here for full details and registration

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