woman with a cell phone

You can try to spin failure as a learning opportunity. 

But when it comes to digital experience, the data shows that disappointing your customers has a brutal cost.

A lot of companies are learning the hard way through the mobile experience they offer customers. According to a new study of 4,500 customers in 11 countries, a bad digital experience negatively impacts the future buying behavior of more than 90 percent of customers.

The Sitecore Global Consumer Mobile Research study, detailed at the MarTech 2016 conference in San Francisco this week, emphasizes the risks and rewards of putting the focus on the mobile system: 76 percent of respondents reported that a positive digital experience, be it through an app, email, web or another touchpoint, leads to increased brand loyalty.

Farewell My Precious 33%

The statistic of the hour during Sitecore CMO Scott Anderson’s MarTech session was this: when mobile expectations aren’t met, 93 percent of those surveyed take some type of immediate action. And 33 percent of that group never purchase from the brand again.

It may not sound logical, but human behavior often isn’t.

“The research shows that companies are still struggling with how to satisfy the mobile consumer,” Anderson said. “But the reality is that consumer is already here and has certain expectations.”

One key digital experience factor is predictability.

He offered an example of how Uber upended the transportation business. Hailing a cab was always unpredictable and there wasn’t a clear feedback channel. Now you can fire up an app, know where the car is, pay through your phone, and leave feedback.

The easier, faster and more secure such experiences, the higher of likelihood one will come back. He said brands need to build out strong micro-moments, a concept popularized by Google.

The idea is that marketers must look for those snippets of time when someone is using mobile technology to make decisions during their shopping experiences.

Mobile is Everything

Anderson believed the Vanson Bourne research indicated that every customer is a mobile customer now and expects positive micro-moments.

He pointed to a few other data points to make his case:

  • On average respondents had a mobile device switched on and next to them for 10 hours per day
  • Twenty percent of respondents check their mobile phone immediately upon waking up
  • 62 percent of consumers are willing to share online activity and preferences to get a more “personalized customer experience” when making an online purchase
  • Consumers show a preference for the ability to order on the move, with 27 percent wanting that ability, with another 25 percent wanting the purchasing options to be location-aware
  • If your product is in the online banking, household bills or consumer good space it has some serious competition: These three categories were among the most regularly types of branded mobile apps

The desktop hasn’t just disappeared. Far from it. In fact, 64 percent of those surveyed use desktop machines to make most of their current purchases.

However, in comparison to mobile, desktop is the easy channel. And the general expectation is that its prevalence will drop by almost 20 percent in three years’ time, which will be matched by a rapid acceleration in mobile use.

One piece of good news is that consumers are generally on board with what it will take to craft the ideal experiences.

According to the survey, 62 percent are willing to be tracked or share their personal preferences “to an extent.” Everyone has his own creepiness meter, but at the very least there’s good indication that consumers want offers tailored to their interests.

So mind the present, but if the data’s right, double down on mobile micro-moments and meeting or exceeding customer expectations on that battlefield. The price is steep.

Title image "P4190124.sm" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by roseannadana