The other day I went shopping for shoes, and I had the worst shopping experience ever. I’m not going to name the store, but it’s one that you would know. I was virtually alone browsing the merchandise, looking at business casual work shoes to get me through the colder weather that will soon be upon us.
I stumbled upon a pair I liked, but I had a few questions. Hoping to catch the attention of a salesperson, I looked around but couldn’t find anyone. Finally I saw a sign that said for help I could contact customer service.
Buying Moment, Interrupted
So, I headed upstairs. It’s a good thing I really liked those shoes, because if I just sort of liked them I’d have totally bailed out and moved on rather than make that inconvenient trek to customer service. It would have been nice to bring the shoes with me to make it easier to ask my questions, but I couldn’t.
Soon I found myself in a long line and I was getting frustrated. After waiting a few minutes it was finally my turn to speak to a person who, it turned out, had no idea why I was there. I had to tell the whole story about what I was shopping for, which pair of shoes caught my eye, and what questions I wanted answered before I might decide to buy them. That’s when it dawned on me that people in front of me probably had to recount their whole stories too, and that must be part of the reason the line was so long. Just as I was about to make a purchase decision, my frustration was skyrocketing.
More likely to abandon the purchase?
This experience broke almost every common sense rule of retailing, but I’m not making this up. It’s a true story and it was a major brand. I bet you could hardly blame me if I abandoned the purchase. They had my attention, and just before the purchase decision they created a huge distraction that totally interrupted the moment.
Can you imagine a store actually creating a shopping experience like that? Well, it actually happened… but I never said it happened in a store. It happened on my back patio, over breakfast, when I was scrambling to scratch something else off my lengthy to-do list. This was a mobile moment that was interrupted when I had to leave their shopping app to call customer service.
By the time I stopped what I was doing, left the app, called customer service, waited on hold, and explained why I was calling in the first place, my motivation to buy waned considerably. That is a fractured experience, and that’s what happens in the vast majority of mobile shopping apps today.
It’s really difficult to imagine a brick and mortar shoe department with a sign that says “For assistance with your purchase, please leave your merchandise where it is and go upstairs to speak with a customer service representative.” No retailer would ever dream of providing such a poor, fractured shopping experience. Unless it’s in a mobile app.
And yes, I did abandon the purchase. Fractured experiences are just as bad in a mobile app as they are in a physical store. If you’re a retailer, seize the mobile moment before someone else does. Take steps now to add customer care to your shopping app.