Last month, Google published research on smartphone activity that revealed how quickly smartphones are altering the shopping experience — for buyers and retailers. Their conclusion was clear:
Businesses should also develop cross-channel strategies that make use of mobile as a bridge between the online and offline world as consumers shop and look for local information.
Datapoints included the following:
- Offline media consumption causes consumers to search on their smartphones
- Roughly 60% of smartphone users are searching because of an ad they’ve seen offline or in a store.
- 92% of Americans use their smartphones to look for information about local businesses or services.
- Globally, 1 out 5 smartphone users in all six countries made a purchase after looking for local information, whether in-store or online.
- One quarter of global smartphone Internet users have made a purchase on their smartphone
- Mobile shoppers are frequent purchasers. Across all markets, more than 50% of those who’ve made a mobile purchase do so at least on a monthly basis.
Google’s research has been further supported by user survey data from Nielsen:
(Our) study found that about a third of smartphone users turn to their device for shopping-related activities.The study highlights is that while not everyone is using their phone in this way, many more would like to.
- 38 percent of survey respondents use their smartphone for comparison shopping while in a physical store.
- 32 percent of use their smartphones for product review research.
- 24 percent are searching for and using online coupons.
- 22 percent are purchasing products from their smartphones.
- Tablet shoppers are three times more likely to purchase an item compared to smartphone users, and they spend more.
- 18 percent are using location-based services to find a retail location
- 9 percent are paying via smartphone — but 71 percent are interested in paying via smartphone
It should be noted that Nielsen doesn’t include “used a map to find directions to a store or restaurant,” “purchased books, magazines, or applications,” “taking photos of items purchased or desired,” or “sharing reactions to or reviews of a purchase online.”
It’s becoming more obvious that smartphones are changing how people shop and how they want to shop. As Wired magazine recently noted:
The Smartphone in Your Pocket Is a Multifunction Buying Machine
“Just like a camera, the best store is the one you have with you. And most of us carry our smartphones with us everywhere we go and buy things all day long.”
As Wired reminds us, the younger you are, the more money you have, the more likely you are to own a smartphone. Of course, already over 50% of new mobile phone sales are smartphones. This means that retail will undergo significant changes.
Consumers will use their smartphones for research, for comparison shopping, to find the best deals — all from within your store. They will want to share their recommendations, knowledge and purchase history with friends and followers. They will want the easiest means possible to learn what you offer. This entails things such as a branded app, check-in support, the use of social media, building marketing campaigns across multiple channels, exploring new forms of payments.
It can sound scary but the opportunity is huge.