A research paper by three scholars, focusing on retailers’ use of mobile applications, has been recently published in the elite academic business journal — The Journal of Business Research.
Dr Graeme McLean, Khalid al Nabhani and Professor Alan Wilson from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow (United Kingdom) identified a gap in knowledge both in academia and industry and thus have developed the Mobile Application Customer Experience (MACE) model in the attempt to help retailers understand the complex behaviour of customers in their use of mobile applications.
The highlight: Due to advances in digital technology, retailers continually face new challenges, and thus in order to compete and meet the growing expectations of consumers, retailers need to adapt their strategy and develop their understanding of m-commerce mobile applications. The three researchers have identified the key characteristics of mobile applications that influence the customer experience, most notably the convenience of the app with advanced customisation tools utilising the hardware and software features of the mobile device.
Dr Graeme McLean said: “This research has really advanced our understanding of customer behaviour towards m-commerce applications. Prior to this research we had little understanding on what influences customers’ continued use of mobile applications and importantly what enhances their experience. This is a continually evolving area of research and one of great importance to organisations.”
The paper highlights the importance of mobile applications as a channel of service delivery to distribute products, services and information to customers. The findings from their research outline that consumers mainly use m-commerce mobile applications in a goal directed form (i.e. to complete a particular task) rather than simply to browse products or services.
The team highlighted that consumers are now presented with a different interface and size of device to interact with as interfaces have shifted from the computer mouse to touchscreens. This interface change has subsequently altered customer expectations and the experiences they have.
Managers are often unaware of the reasons as to why customers do not use their mobile app despite the app being retained on a customer’s smartphone device. The team’s findings assert that retailers ought to provide functionality that allows customers to customise their experience, unique to their activity, i.e. being able to filter content, favourite content, apply parameters to search and be presented with customised information, while utilising customer’s data, such as age, gender and location.