Written by: Sue LeClaire
As recently stated in the Deloitte study “Navigating the New Digital Divide,” mobile devices are increasingly becoming an integral part of the consumer’s path to purchase. From a retailer’s perspective, much is to be gained when retailers create an integrated mobile experience – mobile plays a central role in a consumer’s path to purchase versus mobile as a single channel to acquire conversions.
According to Deloitte, “If retailers are investing in digital only through the lens of their eCommerce business, or measuring success simply by measuring channel sales, they may be missing the bigger opportunity.” In other words, digital should be an integral part of the consumer’s shopping journey.
So, how do shoppers want to use mobile to enhance their path to purchase?
Discovery and Research.
Consumers are using mobile to divine inspiration, connect with friends and family for recommendations, as well as identify convenient locations to buy. While the majority of discovery and research is happening on the tablet, more than 150 million people used a mobile device to research, browse or compare products last year, including 79% of smartphone users and 86% of tablet users according to eMarketer.
Retailers need to make the information that consumers are looking for readily available. Data such as product literature and reviews, referrals from “people in the know,” a location finder, inventory levels, and offers are all examples of the types of information consumers will locate in an integrated mobile experience.
The following chart from eMarketer identifies the information consumers are looking for on their mobile device.
As stated by eMarketer, “retailers serving ads that include discounts and sales may stand the best chance at grabbing the attention of mobile researchers’ attentions. Fully 60% of mobile device users said they were likely to respond to retail-related mobile ads that contained information about discounts and sales.”
According to InReality, 53% of consumers use their mobile devices while shopping in-store. In addition, a recent Google Consumer Survey stated that “more than half of millennials surveyed said they check product reviews on their phones while shopping in a store—and YouTube has become a top source for reviews.”
Consumers use their mobile device to continue their research while in-store, research they most likely started at home on their tablet. In a study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), 58% of shoppers indicated that they prefer to look up information on their mobile device while shopping as opposed to speak with an in-store employee.
In addition to using the mobile web to locate information, another survey from Apptentive substantiates that consumers are using a retailer’s mobile app while shopping in-store. Some of the key findings with respect to mobile app usage include:
- 88% of respondents use mobile shopping apps.
- 61% use shopping apps at least once a month.
- 26% are brand loyalists who use the app and shop in-store at least 7 times a month.
Realtive to the eMarketer chart, consumers are using the retailer’s mobile app and the mobile web to look-up discounts/sales and product information. However, whether the retailer has a mobile app or relies on the mobile web, they need to deliver excellent in-store WIFI that supports all of the in-store research that is taking place on consumer’s mobile devices.
Mobile devices are used to not only inform the consumer before and during their shopping experience but also post-shopping. In essence, using mobile on a consumer’s path to purchase has become full circle as consumer’s post their shopping experiences and favorite products on Facebook (personal and retailer), Yelp, Pinterest and YouTube for all to see.
I recently discovered that my daughter has become a YouTuber and is actively creating a monthly video describing her favorite products. For example, this past August she focused on hair care products. She not only described her preferred products (who knew she used so much product on her hair) but also the best places to purchase the items she mentioned. The best retailer advertising.
By creating an integrated mobile experience – mapping how consumers use digital as they traverse the path to purchase, retailers have the opportunity to create meaningful customer engagement experience.