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Online sales restricted as shoppers shy away from buying through SMS, social and OTT

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A survey of UK consumers by Aspect Software finds that, despite liking to buy on mobile through apps, most shoppers won’t purchase with SMS, social media Messaging (Facebook, WhatsApp), Web/Live chat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or the telephone.

While social media channels are still widely used for research purposes, the end purchase is carried out elsewhere, either in store or directly through the organisations website. Almost half (48 per cent) of UK consumers said that they had used a text-based channel (including social media, email and mobile app) to make an enquiry in the last 12 months, and 27 per cent made a complaint via the same platforms.

The survey reveals that 69 per cent of consumers have security concerns over payment/ personal details and 60 per cent have concerns over the social media channels being at risk of phishing attempts or fraudulent profiles.

It is clear that more is needed to be done to prove that these communication channels are secure as consumers are still happy to purchase via email (83 per cent) and mobile applications (75 per cent). Mobile applications were the most popular channel for making purchases in the last 12 months (59 per cent). A lack of confidence in the purchasing stage is highlighted further as only 16 per cent of consumers responded that they don’t use these communication channels. Businesses wishing to develop a seamless omni-channel experience for its customers that would allow them to make purchases anywhere in the chain are failing to assuage security concerns.

Stephen Ball, Senior VP Sales in Europe & Africa at Aspect Software says that security concerns should be a top priority for retailers in 2017, following a year of headline data breaches: “In 2016, we saw numerous large organisations exposed to data breaches so it is understandable that security concerns over personal details and payments are very high. Brands need to be showing how secure their communication channels are across every outlet, not only to increase sales via these channels but to improve confidence in the whole brand. It is clear that a large majority of consumers are using these communication channels in some way or another, so it is important for retailers to find a way to exploit this platform.

“Customers are in the driving seat – we don’t want to be forced to engage brands in a way that isn’t convenient to us. We want choice, we want it mobile and we want it instantly – we do however, realise the potential security issues and need to be convinced that this approach to purchasing is safe. Consumers are clearly looking for an omni-channel approach as they are using these communication channels to make enquiries and give feedback. This approach means that they should get the service they want via any channel – this includes purchasing. 2017 is the time to prove that these communication channels are secure, to boost consumer confidence and social media sales,” concluded Ball.

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