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August 07, 2017 | Katie Powderly

Retailers face greater consequences from dissatisfied desktop customers (research) 

Desktop customer satisfaction

Attention retailers: Consumers who fail to accomplish a task when visiting a retail website on a desktop are less satisfied than those who visit from a smartphone, according to new research from ForeSee.

In May 2017, ForeSee measured customer satisfaction on desktop retail sites at an average of 72 out of a possible 100-points. Mobile satisfaction was 79, which is interesting but certainly not the full picture. Whether or not a customer is able to accomplish what they set out to do has a substantial effect on their satisfaction (e.g. I wasn’t able to do what I set out to do – therefore, I am less satisfied with my experience).

ForeSee Research Desktop Accomplishment

Our research shows a difference in satisfaction based on the channel used by a customer when there is a failure to accomplish what they set out to do.

Satisfaction, though, has a lot to do with expectation. And based on our findings, customers don’t always expect to accomplish their task on mobile. There are many reasons for this:

  • A customer may have little time to visit, and intends to return later to accomplish
  • The limited real estate on a smartphone may make it more difficult to go into reviews in detail, thus making it easier to come back later for more research
  • A customer who struggled to find a product will go into a store or open their laptop to look instead

The same is not true on desktop, as customers that fail to complete a task are more likely to assign blame to the retailer — e.g. the product was out of stock, or they couldn’t find what they wanted when they fully expected to be able to.

A higher bar for desktop customer experiences

In 2017, customers say they accomplish their task in roughly equal proportions on desktop and mobile. When they are able to accomplish what they intended to, their satisfaction scores are roughly equal.

But here’s the piece retailers should note: When customers don’t accomplish their task on desktop there’s a dip in satisfaction by up to 40 points. That gap is far less dramatic on mobile, typically around 20 points. Even more worrisome, satisfaction for desktop non-accomplishers has trended downward this year while mobile has remained flat.

The takeaway here for retailers is fairly clear: not all non-accomplishment is equal. So while it may make sense to drive a mobile-first strategy to keep up with the rise in smartphone usage (not to mention Millennials’ preference for mobile), retailers have plenty of incentive to maintain and improve the desktop experience.

For more research on customer satisfaction based on desktop and mobile experiences, download the 2016 FXI Report: Retail Edition as well as additional ForeSee studies and research.

About the Author

Katie Powderly specializes in providing top retailers with key insights related to their customer experience as a member of the Professional Services team at ForeSee. Always looking for the threads that tie it all together, her work as an analyst has spanned the gamut from government to technology to CPG to automotive. Prior to joining ForeSee, Katie worked to analyze and understand traditional and social media data. Based in St. Louis, Katie earned bachelor degrees from Truman State University and an MA from Eastern Illinois University.

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