Monday, January 23, 2012

More Europeans Using Mobiles While Shopping

Mobile retail is one of the fastest growing new uses of  smart phones, comScore reports, with more than 13.6 million smart phone owners in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom using their mobiles to access a retail site in October 2011.

But that isn’t the most-significant new finding. The more important trend is growing use of mobile devices inside retail locations, while people are shopping.

In October 2011, nearly 22 percent of surveyed mobile users in In France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom took a picture of the product while in a retail store, making it the most popular e-commerce related activity.

A significant percentage of smart phone users in retail stores also texted or called friends or family about a product (15 percent). Some six percent scanned a QR code in-store.

A large share of smart phone owners also managed their bank account from their device (20 percent), used electronic payment services to purchase goods (12 percent), or searched through shopping guides for the best products (11 percent).

Target and Sears are taking diametrically opposed approaches to the challenge of mobile-enhanced shopping, in particular comparison shopping while potential customers are inside stores.

Target wants its suppliers to create "retail store only" versions of products that cannot be bought online, as well as helping Target match online prices. Target is particularly concerned about showrooming, the practice of consumers examining merchandise in a store, but buying online.

Sears, on the other hand, is going to make it easier for mobile shoppers to compare prices inside Sears locations, by adding Wi-Fi, at least at some of the Sears stores.

In fact, Sears is by offering in-store shoppers free Wi-Fi access at select stores, to provide customers with faster access to the merchant’s mobile commerce site and apps. That isn’t completely surprising.

What is more interesting is that Sears also will allow those users to access the sites and apps of other retailers, a move intended to show Sears comfort with its pricing.

With free Wi-Fi customers can use their smart phones to surf the web, shop online at or compare prices before they purchase to make sure they are getting the best price on the products they want, the company says.

About 63 percent of smart phone users have visited a retailer’s website from their mobile device, up from 53 percent in 2010, and 41 percent have done so while in the retail store, according to a study by Hipcricket.

While mobile retail sites have historically served as “brochures,” lightweight versions of retailers’ full websites that provide limited information such as store locations, directions and hours, today’s mobile-specific retail sites are now providing more significant benefits to consumers as they move along their path-to-purchase.  

Fully 50 percent have checked a competitor’s mobile website while in another store.
The survey found that smart phone owners are visiting mobile retail sites to:

Research prices (46 percent);
Search for coupons and offers (36 percent);
Research products (28 percent); and
Purchase products (13 percent)

Some nine percent report that any of their favorite brands market to them using the mobile phone. At the same time, consumers continue to indicate a willingness to join mobile customer relationship management or loyalty programs for their favorite brands. Some 33 percent would be interested in joining such a program, but only 12 percent currently participate in one.
Mobile sites now a factor in retail shopping

Some 79 percent of U.S. smart phone owners relying on their phones to help with shopping, according to Google.

About 70 percent use their phones while shopping in-store and 74 percent of smart phone shoppers made a purchase as a result of using their smart phone.

Some 67 percent said they research on their smart phone and then buy in the store. Fully 95 percent of smart phone users have looked for local information, and as you might expect, such searches often are an immediate precursor to purchasing.  After looking for local information, 77 percent contacted a business, and 44 percent made a purchase. Reaching Today’s Mobile Shoppers

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