Consumers throughout the U.S. are embracing online shopping, shifting a significant portion of their purchases from retail stores to the web at an ever-increasing pace.

But a second wave of change is already well underway. Consumers have less time, are more price-conscious, and have access to more information than ever before – and that’s changing buying behavior.

As a result, consumers are shifting a healthy portion of their online purchases from the web to smartphones and tablets. Shopping via mobile device is becoming more commonplace than ever before, as one out of 10 shoppers already prefer mobile apps exclusively for their online shopping. Mobile shopping has arrived, and new mobile payments functionality like Apple Pay is poised to help turn the mobile shopping tide. But there is a looming problem.

In Contact Solutions' recently completed retail mobile shopping survey, we found one major issue with mobile buying behavior–customer care.

Mobile shopping isn’t perfect. Altogether, 16% (one in six) of consumers said they struggle with mobile shopping apps at least half the time, and 38% of respondents said they are disappointed with the inability to get help within a mobile app

Consumers have high expectations for customer care when shopping via mobile device, and if those expectations aren’t met, they’ll abandon the experience (and their carts) entirely. When consumers struggle in a retail app, 51% abandon the cart and close the app – causing lost potential revenue for retailers – and 20% will stop using that particular app entirely. Furthermore, 55% of consumers say they struggle at least twenty percent of the time.

There is a latent dissatisfaction with mobile apps. If retailers fail to address this problem, it will soon put a damper on mobile shopping revenue growth and customer loyalty, regardless of how enticing mobile payments might be.

Fortunately, consumers have told us exactly what needs to be done. They want in-app customer care. More than 90% of shoppers said it would be helpful to have customer care automatically provided within an app to help complete a task or goal. For those retailers who solve the problem, consumers indicate a strong willingness to reward them with more purchases, higher loyalty, and lower costs.

These less-than-ideal experiences where shoppers struggle within your app and can’t get the help they need are likely putting a damper on mobile shopping revenue growth and customer loyalty for your company.  You’ve invested too much time and resources to develop a mobile solution, only to have a large fraction of your shoppers stall at the point of purchase or click away in frustration.  With minimal cost and effort you can add in-app mobile care to complete the shopping experience, delight your customers, and achieve the full potential of your mobile investment.

John Hibel is the Director of Marketing at Contact Solutions.