Nobody leaves home without his or her phone. Well, nearly nobody; in fact, according to emarketer.com, 65% of the global population, or approximately 4.55 billion people, carry smartphones. To give you some perspective, the global smartphone audience surpassed the 1 billion mark in 2012. Today, 7 out of 10 Americans own a smartphone. Smartphone penetration continues to grow every day, with 85% of recent acquirers picking smartphones when purchasing new mobile devices.
According to a recent Nielsen study, 87% of US smartphone/tablet owners use their phones to shop. Check this link out for the full study results: http://www.internetretailer.com/2014/02/20/consumer-internet-use-shifts-pcs-smartphones
So, just how does this translate to in-store purchases? And why is it important to retailers?
The role of the smartphone in a consumer’s path to purchase is pretty clear—while most users research items on their phones, many of their purchases are still done in person.
According to the “Mobile Path to Purchase” study done by Nielsen in May 2013, 42% of users relied exclusively on mobile devices in their pre-purchase research, spending on average about 15 hours per week. Of that group, 77% made purchases in stores.
Prior to the advent of smartphones, comparison shopping was often done in person —traveling from store A to store B—or from a laptop or printed store circulars. Now with the numerous mobile apps available, one can virtually comparison shop while on the way to a retail store. Not surprisingly, laptop use is on the decline, while phone and tablet use are on the rise.
Portability means productivity. You can keep moving while you search for the best deal. For example, you can scan your desired item and enter it in a mobile app, which then informs you of where the best deal nearest you is located. Or you may receive an e-blast from one of your favorite stores enticing you with a hot sale— maybe a BOGO (Buy-One-Get-One-Free) or 50% off everything in store. It may just be enticing enough to make you change your after-work plans and head to the store to get that “too good to pass up” deal.
No matter where they shop or how often, shoppers still want that bargain and willingly opt in to newsletters and emails waiting for retailers to deliver the deals.
According to a recent survey that Google conducted with 950 smartphone users, individuals are using their devices for shopping-related activities and tend to be on a mission to make a purchase soon; 55% of consumers want to purchase within an hour, 83% within a day. At the time of the survey, of those who used smartphones for research in the past 30 days, 93% made a purchase in that timeframe as well.
Some tactics that help drive sales:
- Coupons via e-blasts on mobile devices—you don’t even have to print these— just show the offer code on your phone at the time of purchase and the cashier scans the code for the discount
- Targeted mobile ads; your purchasing behavior is tracked, allowing ads that match your interests to be sent to you
- Emails from retailers; after opting in, information regarding sales is sent to you
- Groupon, Living Social, Deal Chicken, and other similar online marketplaces routinely offer significant discounts on products, services, food, etc.
- Coupon and coupon code sites; these are specific sites that offer discounts on various brands and items
- Retailer “flash” sales (limited-time sales that offer consumers the best deals if they act quickly)
Tactics aside, one of the most valuable strategies for a retailer to employ is to make sure that ads and emails are mobile responsive. Consumers want and expect this, yet many retailers ignore using this format.
In short, mobile phone use makes purchasing quicker, more efficient, and easier due to the device’s ability to pinpoint the best current sales and a product’s or service’s availability. There is no question that smartphones have had a positive effect on the in-store/retail industry. It would be wise for every retailer to make sure that all communications, whether it’s an ad, e-blast, sale, new product promotion, etc., are mobile responsive and optimized for the best viewing experience. This is where consumers are and they are not abandoning this technology any time soon.
See more at: http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Smartphone-Users-Worldwide-Will-Total-175-Billion-2014/1010536#sthash.jHDOjStf.dpuf