How to stop mobile travel booking abandonment


As long as you are selling something that your target market wants, it should be easy for a consumer to give you money in exchange for your product. Yet, all too often, this isn’t the case, especially when customers are looking to buy travel on their mobile device.

In August, Jumio published results of a poll we carried out with Harris Research  to examine the level of abandonment on mobile devices, and what was driving it, in a number of verticals, including travel. Tnooz covered the report in detail but here’s some further insight. We discovered that travel, with a mobile abandonment rate of 38%, was losing £2.7bn in  revenues in 2014.  This should be a wake-up call and prompt a rethink about how m-commerce can be improved.

A starting point is an examination of the top reasons, from our research, as to why consumers abandon a mobile purchase. Here are the top three.

1)    Slow loading times (32%) Your potential customer is shopping on their mobile. They want to browse quickly; they want to buy quickly. That is, after all, the promise of mobile retail. Yet if the mobile site is taking too long to load, it’s going to push away almost a third of your customers. Every business likes their website to look sharp and match their corporate identity. It is, after all, how the majority of customers interact with business. Yet if those swish corporate logos and images are slowing load times then you are harming the very brand you are trying to protect and enhance.

Every second counts and each second your mobile site takes to load is driving that abandonment rate. So when designing your mobile site, be absolutely sure that the information on that site is 100% relevant and critical to customer experience. Otherwise you are doing more harm than good.

2)    Payment process being too complicated (27%) Typing in card details is enough of a chore on a traditional laptop or desktop computer keyboard, never mind on a much smaller mobile keyboard. Making this process frictionless and easy has to be a priority for mobile commerce.

Currently mobile commerce is stuck between the rock of consumers wanting to use mobiles to carry out transactions and the hard place of mobiles not being conducive to entering complex payment information. There are ways to alleviate this, though.

One way is allowing customers to register and store payment details on your site or app to speed up the booking and payment process. Yet there are two significant problems with this approach. Firstly, registering still requires payment details to be entered at least once. For regular purchases, such as fast food or groceries, consumers might be willing to register. But for occasional purchases such as holidays and flights? Possibly not.

There is also the issue of security. With 54% of British consumers voicing concerns about mobile security , asking consumers to store their payment details on an app or website where high cost transactions can be made could be asking too much. An alternative to this could be payment card scanning and this is growing in popularity due to it being quicker and easier than manual entry. It is not without its drawbacks as consumers still need access to their payment card, for example, but it is certainly a step in the right direction to cutting out unnecessary key strokes.

3)    Difficulty with navigating the checkout process (26%) Booking travel is a complex business. Airlines and travel companies have to know a lot about the customers booking with them. For example, passengers travelling from the UK have to comply with Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) regulations which means entering a large amount of personal information. Other countries have similar requirements of their own.

The first step in dealing with complicated checkout processes is to ask if all the information taken is vital. With APIS regulations, there are legal requirements. But some details are requested by travel firms for CRM or marketing purposes. If this is turning customers away, then it is not worth it. Once the unnecessary information has been cut, there is the same choice as with the payment complexity issue; registration or offering document scanning. Or, for that matter, both.

Conclusion: None of the issues we have raised are insurmountable. It is simply a matter of prioritising user experience and security when designing and implementing mobile sites and apps. Browsing, checkout and payment  processes  should be as simple as possible. The technology is there. With £2.7bn on the table, the will should be there too.

NB This is a guest article by David Pope, EMEA marketing director for Jumio.

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Founded by two travel and technology professionals with years of experience in Asia, Representasia specialises in sales & marketing representation throughout Southeast Asia for travel/hospitality technology providers and travel-related startups, as well as providing marketing consultancy services for hotels and travel businesses in the region.

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