According to a recent study by Google and Millward Brown Digital, 67% of users start a purchase on their mobile phone, but complete it on their desktop. As part of their digital product hunt, they use a variety of devices turning online shopping into a multi-device experience.
3 Countries - 9 Holiday Websites - 2 Tasks
To analyse online shopping behaviour on different mobile devices, the software provider UserZoom (www.userzoom.co.uk) analysed 360 smartphone and tablet users by means of an international usability study. 120 participants from 3 countries tested 9 holiday websites in a task-based survey. Among the tested sites in the UK: Virgin Holidays, ebookers, and TravelSupermarket - Virgin Holidays achieved the highest task success rates and user satisfaction rates.
Book a Hotel in Paris - Find a Cruise to Greece
The participants from the UK, Germany, and Spain performed 2 tasks on one holiday website. The smartphone and tablet users were asked to look for a 4-star hotel in Paris including a parking space and a 7-day cruise to Greece leaving from Barcelona. They also rated how much they liked the information and pictures provided by each website.
Top 3 Mobile Booking Barriers
As part of the study, users were asked why they preferred to complete a purchase on their desktop PC instead of buying it directly on their mobile device. By means of the answers, it was possible to identify the three main booking barriers mobile users encounter while looking to book a holiday on their smartphone or tablet:
1. Inconvenient: It is harder to navigate, type, and search for information on a mobile device, e.g. due to the screen size pictures are too small.
2. Security concerns: People perceive a booking via a mobile device to be generally less secure. Not only do they have security concerns with regards to the purchasing process, but also fear that technical issues could lead to problems. Such as the connection being interrupted mid-transaction. Others believe they might enter wrong information due to the touch screen and are later unable to go back or delete the information.
3. Impractical: Most people prefer to save a booking confirmation on their desktop and print their reservation straight away.
Virgin Holidays rated best by mobile users
The study results suggest that Virgin Holidays is the most usable website among the tested UK websites. On both a tablet and mobile phone it is easiest for Virgin Holidays users to either book a hotel or search for a cruise. Virgin Holidays accomplishes the highest task success rates for both tasks compared to TravelSupermarket and ebookers. Having the highest task success rate also seems to influence how much the brand is valued by users. With a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of -37,5% (tablet users) and -12,5% (mobile users) Virgin Holidays is ranked 4th in the international ranking and best among the UK providers.
On the other hand, none of the UK brands accomplished a positive NPS leaving all holiday providers being rated rather negatively by the participants.
All three websites also fail to reach a task success rate over 90%, which is an indicator for a good usability. The majority of participants don't succeed in either booking a 4-star hotel in Paris or reserving a 7-day cruise to Greece. In most cases this is due to the fact that important booking information is either not accessible or visible.
Related to this, the study highlights 2 key findings:
• Most participants complain that they can't filter their search by a certain neighbourhood, hotel characteristic, or cruise route.
• They also can't find out if additional services such as the parking space, Internet connection, or events on board are free or not.
Conclusion: Multi Device Experience not provided
Looking at the results of the study, it is evident that people searching for holidays on their mobile devices are more likely to find what they want if:
• Information on the mobile web, tablet web, or website is accessible,
• The search and selection functionalities are usable and
• The information provided by one brand is the same on desktops, mobiles, and tablets.
For most people, booking a trip online is already a multi-device experience. Their user journey starts on one screen and ends on another. The study reveals that the content offered by some of the websites varies across devices. Depending on the device people are using, they encounter different content on one and the same travel website. Some of the mobile phone users start their journey on a mobile optimised homepage, but as soon as they navigate to a sub-page the navigation changes to a desktop version. And while tablet users can see a cruise icon on their page, there is no icon on mobile phone screens. Resulting in the fact, that for this holiday website tablet participants achieve a much higher task success rate than users testing the same site on their smartphone.
Receiving different information depending on the mobile device you are using is a great booking barrier. Instead of providing consistent information and the same brand experience, users receive mixed content throughout their customer journey. A poor Mobile Experience due to changing information and limited access to information or poor filter and search options can therefore lead to losing a sale entirely.
For more information please visit: www.userzoom.co.uk | @UserZoom
Follow Market Research World on Twitter or join in the conversation with our LinkedIn Group