E-retail giants Apple and Amazon are head and shoulders above the competition in a study of customer satisfaction with top retail mobile sites and apps released today by customer experience analytics firm ForeSee (http://www.foresee.com)

ForeSee says it was able to collect enough data to produce statistically reliable mobile satisfaction scores for 16 of the largest e-retailers in the United States. Apple and Amazon, which scored 85 and 84, respectively, on the study’s 100-point scale, topped the list by a wide margin.

According to the research, shoppers are generally more satisfied with traditional websites than they are with their mobile counterparts. The average mobile satisfaction score for the 16 retailers measured in the report is 76, compared to 79 for the same companies’ websites. However, a few companies had comparable performance on mobile and web:

Apple (a standout with a mobile score two points higher than its web score), Toys “R” Us, Best Buy, Staples, Netflix, Dell, and Blockbuster.  Others reveal large gaps between the website and the mobile experience, including Avon (satisfaction eight points lower on mobile) and Walmart (seven points lower).  

“s the adoption of smartphones increases, more consumers are using them to access retailer websites,” says Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. “More and more, there is expectation that companies will address the mobile environment 
in ways that are effective and user-friendly. Mobile commerce is still relatively new and there is a lot of room for innovation and improvement.”

In addition, the ForeSee study shows that satisfaction with the mobile experience has a significant cross-channel impact. Mobile shoppers who are highly satisfied with their mobile experience are 54% more likely to consider the company next time they want to make a similar purchase, and twice as likely to buy from the retailer’s mobile channel again.

“Customers use mobile apps to research and make decisions, both in-store and out, and it’s not always in the retailer’s favor,” says Eric Feinberg, mobile industry director at ForeSee. “One proven way for retailers to hold on to customer’s loyalty and increase likelihood to buy is to ensure customers are satisfied across 
all channels.”

Other findings from the research show the growing role mobile is playing in the retail experience:

° A third of online shoppers (34%) used their mobile phones to research products while 15% made a purchase directly from their phone, up from 11% last year.

° One in five online shoppers (19%) used a mobile phone to compare prices or products while shopping in a retail location.

° Nineteen percent of all online shoppers are now using mobile phones to compare prices while shopping inside a store.

“The smartphone is a powerful shopping tool and a double-edged sword. Consumers will use it to research products and check a retailer’s own site while they’re in the store, but they’ll also use it to compare prices and check out the competition,” adds Freed. “The gap between mobile experience and web experience is an opportunity for retailers as much as it is a liability.  We know consumer expectations will only continue to grow, and right now Amazon and Apple are setting a very high bar.”