SAN FRANCISCO – Buying a new smartphone via your old smartphone has become the preferred purchasing channel for people searching for a new smartphone, according to a study from JD Power. That’s why the results of our latest purchase experience study of the online market for smartphones with a plan are especially relevant to wireless providers today.
As was the case last time around, VerizonWireless.com has once again taken the top spot in the rankings with relative ease. Unlike six months ago, however, T-Mobile.com has leapfrogged AT&T.com in the rankings to take the second spot while MetroPCS.com has moved from last place into 5th. Let’s take a look at some of the key insights from this study.
Digital Sales Score
Name study: Smartphone+PlanMeasurement: June 2018Country: United States
- 1 VerizonWireless.com 79
- 2 T-Mobile.com 71
- 3 ATT.com 70
- 4 Sprint.com 69
- 5 MetroPCS.com 50
- 6 CricketWireless.com 49
- 7 USCellular.com 49
- 8 BestBuy.com 48
- 9 BoostMobile.com 42
- At the base of each Digital Sales Scan® lies the Digital Sales Model. With this model, the details of the orientation process are mapped. Eventually the performance of a website is reflected in a single, overall score: the Digital Sales Score.
- Highest total score
- Highest score on device
The 300 respondents in this study were given the following task: “Imagine that your current plan is ending and its time for a new smartphone. Imagine you’d like to find a new smartphone combined with a wireless plan that suits your budget, needs, and desires. Please assess all the steps to purchase a smartphone with plan on the same site, but don’t actually make a purchase.” Each respondent featured in this study searched for a smartphone via their own smartphone. For the full research set up, click here.
Digital Excellence: Who gets the highest preference?
Two times as many respondents chose VerizonWireless.com as their preferred provider in comparison with second-place finisher T-Mobile.com. That’s how strongly Verizon performed in this study. Out of the 87% respondents who found VerizonWireless.com, which is an incredible number for any benchmark study, 34% wound up choosing Verizon as the company that provides the best digital experience. So why do respondents flock to VerizonWireless.com? Beyond being an established name that is easily findable on the web, VerizonWireless.com is a leader in mobile design and is beyond capable in communicating their products to customers. For the categories “Relevant information found quickly”, “Appearance fits product” and “Expect to find suitable product”, Verizon is rated the highest.
When respondents who chose Verizon were asked why they chose wireless giant as their preferred provider, one respondent said “I like the fact that I could find what I was looking for in just a few seconds.” Still, despite taking first place again, there are some points where VerizonWireless.com can improve on. In terms of price quality ratio, Verizon ranked 7th, indicating that while many customers are choosing the wireless provider for their strong brand and reliability, others are backing out because prices are perceived as being too high.
What the data says about the competition
The data we extracted from this Digital Sales Scan provides a snapshot of digital excellence within the US market for smartphones. Let’s have a look at some of the findings:
• CricketWireless.com moved up two spots in the rankings from 8th place to 6th thanks in part to a higher rate of findability. Despite being found 4% more compared to the last time we measured this market in October, Cricket’s conversion remained stagnant at 10%. Out of all the providers featured in this study, Cricket relied on being found through a search engine more than any other provider, with nearly 65% of respondents discovering CricketWireless.com using a search engine like Google.com.
• The findability of T-Mobile.com skyrocketed from 58% to 72% since October. Respondents were attracted with the appearance of T-Mobile’s website and awarded the provider with the highest score for the Look & Feel of their website during the first impression phase of the customer journey. Where T-Mobile.com might be losing customers is during the ordering process, a part of the customer journey where T-Mobile was ranked 5th. T-Mobile.com also saw no change in their conversion rate
• MetroPCS.com went from bottom dweller to 5th place in this study. So what’s changed? First off, MetroPCS.com saw a jump in findability, with 9% more respondents finding them. Another key aspect is that MetroPCS.com is perceived as offering a good price to quality ratio, finishing just behind BestBuy.com in that category.
• USCellular.com featured in the rankings for the first time. The October rankings of the Smartphone + Plan market didn’t even feature USCellular.com. This time around enough respondents evaluated the Chicago-based provider’s website to be a part of the rankings. Still, in terms of findability, only 7% of respondents found the site during their customer journey. But of those respondents who did wind up USCellular.com, 32% selected the site as their preferred wireless network. That rate of conversion is second only to VerizonWireless.com, who had a conversion rate of 34%. One category in which USCellular.com did surprisingly well was Order Process, with the site getting an outstanding score of 89 for the subject “Purchase process runs smoothly.”
• Telecom giant AT&T dropped one place in the rankings and saw a slight decline in conversion. One major aspect that ATT.com failed to improve on is the Look & Feel of their website as they remain near the bottom in this category. On a more positive note, findability did go up 8% this time around.
Aim of this study
With this study, we wanted to identify and measure the digital experience that consumers have when searching for a new smartphone with a plan through their old smartphone. By having our respondents use smartphones as their searching channel, we are able to get as close as possible to the actual user experience while getting great insights into the mobile web design of wireless providers. We want to find out who consumers choose to buy from, and mainly: Why? Using a proven model WUA has worked on over the past 10 years, we map out exactly the consumers want, what the best practices are, and what the areas for improvement are. The websites of these companies were assessed by consumers in the study:
To beat the competition, you have to offer an excellent digital experience
This study shows once again that Digital Excellence is an absolute necessity. To beat the competition, you have to offer an excellent digital experience in the entire customer journey, and take the number 1 position when it comes to preference. Being found and scoring high in Google isn’t enough. You have to design a website that guides the customer to the product they want and provides a feeling of support.
Would you like more insights into the US market for smartphones? We have a crystal-clear image of your position and results.