July 12, 2012 smz-blog

The Mobile Influence Factor

– John Gielow, Director of Digital Strategy

Contrary to showrooming, which appears to be posing a challenge to big box retailer Best Buy, a new Deloitte study says smartphone shoppers could help retail sales.

There is no doubt a smartphone provides an incredibly convenient tool of knowledge to the shopping consumer.  The fear at the retail level is that smartphones simply arm the consumer with the ability to find it elsewhere online after coming to the store to “try it on.”

This new study goes on to say:

  • Smartphone shoppers are 14% more likely to make a purchase in the store than non-smartphone users
  • 48% of consumers said their phones have influenced their decision to purchase an item in-store
  • 72% said they made a purchase on their most recent shopping trip, compared with 63% who didn’t use a phone
  • 37% used a retailer’s mobile application

Of particular interest is the last bullet. It emphasizes the importance of stores indeed having a mobile app/mobile friendly website because consumers don’t generally look at the retailer’s website at the point of purchase. They want reviews, alternate product/service comparisons, comparative pricing—they want the best value.

Retailers who embrace this challenge to provide the knowledge consumers crave, have the opportunity to prosper.  As one reader commented, are smartphone users 14% more likely to make a purchase in the store than non-smartphone users because of the device or because smartphone users have, on average, more disposable income?

At this stage of smartphone adoption, I think it’s a bit of both.  Let’s just hope we can reduce the use of smartphones while consumers are on their way (driving) to their favorite retailer.


Comment (1)

  1. Smart observations, John, about the retailer-consumer relationship that’s changing virtually at the speed of data transmission.

    Beyond keeping pace with the disruptive innovation of smartphones, in-store merchants now also feel a powerful new push by Amazon that could dislodge more than a few shops of all sizes:

    “Amazon’s new goal is to get stuff to you immediately — as soon as a few hours after you hit Buy” in major metro areas, Slate magazine reports July 11*. “It’s hard to overstate how thoroughly this move will shake up the retail industry. Same-day delivery has long been the holy grail of Internet retailers.
    “. . . But Amazon is investing billions to make next-day delivery standard, and same-day delivery an option for lots of customers. If it can pull that off, the company will permanently alter how we shop. To put it more bluntly: Physical retailers will be hosed.”

    If the giant e-merchant’s dream comes true, you currently correct conclusion that “consumers don’t generally look at the retailer’s website at the point of purchase” could be shortened to end at the word website, period.

    Here’s how marketing blogger Mitch Joel, president of Twist Image (Toronto and Montreal), puts it today**:
    “Amazon is making fast moves to act like a major retailer without even having a physical brick and mortar store.”

    That doesn’t mean main streets, retail strips and malls will be ghost towns, obviously. “The physical store may become much more about an experience,” Joel adds. “Think about this in terms of going to the movies or to an amusement park. . . . People do not just shop to buy the lowest price and for convenience. Many people shop and walk through shopping malls to get out, to do something and connect to their fellow citizens. It’s not all about transactions.”

    So yes, we should fasten our seat belts . . . as we drive to shop and as we watch how retailing is being rocked.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    * “I Want It Today”: http://www.slate.com/articles/business/small_business/2012/07/amazon_same_day_delivery_how_the_e_commerce_giant_will_destroy_local_retail_.single.html

    ** “When Real Time Becomes Really Real Time”: http://www.twistimage.com/blog/archives/when-real-time-becomes-really-real-time/

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