Study: Mobile websites affect purchasing intent

As more customers begin to purchase smartphones and use them to access the internet, brands must begin to consider the positive and negative consequences of their mobile experience.

A recent ForeSee survey measured satisfaction with leading retailer mobile sites. Researchers found that Apple was rated the highest in terms of offering a satisfying mobile experience (with a score of 85, based on American Customer Satisfaction Index methodology), actually beating out its web expedience score of 83.

Amazon was the only other brand with a score above 80 (84), while Dell, Netflix and eBay rounded out the top five.

On the low end, Toys R Us, Blockbuster, Target, Walmart and Sears all finished with scores below 75.

What brands need to take into account, according to researchers, is the cross-channel impact a negative mobile experience can have on future shopping behavior.

"[T]he ForeSee study shows that satisfaction with the mobile experience has a significant cross-channel impact. Mobile shoppers who are highly satisfied with their mobile experience are 54 percent more likely to consider the company next time they want to make a similar purchase, and twice as likely to buy from the retailer’s mobile channel again."

Other findings from the study included the fact that 34 percent of shoppers used their mobile phones to research products, while 15 percent made purchases directly from a mobile device. The latter statistic is up 4 percent from last year, and may indicate that shoppers are becoming more comfortable responding to mobile marketing ads and completing the mobile-purchasing process.

"As the adoption of smartphones increases, more consumers are using them to access retailer websites," said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. "More and more, there is expectation that companies will address the mobile environment in ways that are effective and user-friendly."

Another way mobile engagement can affect purchasing decisions is via app usage. A similar study conducted by Indiana University revealed that well-made mobile apps corresponded with a positive brand impact and consumer buying intent.

Specifically, participants were asked to rate certain brands on a one to seven scale. Prior to engaging in the company's app, the average rating was a 5.25. Following app usage, that figure jumped to 5.49.

Furthermore, on average, respondents were 46.75 percent likely to buy a product from a brand prior to using its app - the number grew to 48.63 percent post-engagement.