Written by: Sue LeClaire
New light has been shed on how consumers use their mobile devices while shopping in-store thanks to three recently published studies. The research reports include “The Reality of Retail Report,” inreality; “The 3 New Realities of LOCAL RETAIL,” thinkwithgoogle.com; “Navigating the New Digital Divide,” Deloitte Digital.
As stated by Dave Richards regarding in-store engagement, global managing director of Accenture’s retail practice,
“Physical and digital commerce are converging at an incredible pace, the fact that many consumers are looking for real-time promotions to be sent to their phones means retailers have an opportunity to capitalize on the power of these devices. All sales channels must be equally desirable to the consumer, so that the path to purchase is not chosen based on satisfaction in one channel over another, but simply on what is most convenient at that time.”
Following are statistics that reflect a new understanding of how consumers are using mobile during their purchase journey while in-store:
- “In 2014, 6.5 percent of retail sales were online – or roughly $305 billion, with the remaining 93.5 percent (or more than $4 trillion) happening through traditional brick-and-mortar stores” (“Navigating the New Digital Divide”).
- 53% of consumers research products while in-store (“The Reality of Retail Report”). In addition, “people who use digital while they shop in-store convert at a 20% higher rate compared to those who do not use digital as part of the shopping process” (“Navigating the New Digital Divide”).
So, what exactly are people doing on their mobile devices while in-store? According to “The Reality of Retail Report:”
Additionally, the thinkwithgoogle.com report states:
- 42% of in-store shoppers search for information online while in-store. For the most part, they’re using search engines (64%). However, almost half of shoppers head to the retailer’s own site or app. Only 30% will look up details from a different retailer’s web site or app.
- 33% actively research in stores to find out more about a potential purchase.
One of the key takeaways from two of the studies is the impact offer personalization has on creating a positive customer in-store engagement. Examples of ways retailers can use personalization include delivering unique mobile offers based on a consumer’s past purchases, using beacons to display product information about complimentary products, or making inventory information available enabling consumers to check if the product they intend to buy is in stock.
According to thinkwithgoogle.com, “Three out of four shoppers who find local information in search results helpful are more likely to visit stores.”
Two of the three reports stressed the importance of consumer expectations regarding the type of information they would like to receive while in-store. According to thinkwithgoogle.com:
Inreality supports these figures with stats of their own:
Personal Shopping Journey
An important point made in the Deloitte report is “Retailers need to increasingly focus on, and invest in, the moments that matter across the shopping journey.” In other words, retailers need to understand the various decision points and how mobile impacts the consumer at each point on the path to purchase continuum.
Today, the purchase journey may include researching products online (desktop, tablet or mobile device depending on the type of product), identifying the products they want to purchase before entering a store, determining the specific store(s) they intend to visit to purchase the product, and even buying the product online to pick-up at a specific location.
A case in point is a recent shopping journey to buy my favorite barbecue sauce. As it is not sold in any of my local grocery stores and my strategic supply was running low, I set out to find a store that carried it within a reasonable commute.
I started my search on the manufacturer’s website locating several banners that carry the barbecue sauce. I then proceeded to each of the store’s websites to learn which of the stores actually had the sauce in stock. It turned out that the sauce was available in only one of the three brand name stores. The store that carried the sauce was not close by so I planned to visit the store while dropping my daughter off at college later that week (the store is located less than a mile off of the highway).
We stopped at the store on the way home and purchased three bottles of the sauce. While in-store, I used my mobile device to search another product I was interested in purchasing. By the end of the shopping trip, my total basket size was $50, 5 times greater than the cost of the barbecue sauce alone.
Based on recent research, consumers are actively trying to engage with retailers through their mobile device. By identifying key touchpoints and deploying the appropriate technology, retailers can deliver a superior in-store engagement experience that will drive more conversions (both in-store and online) as well as increase basket size.