Finding The Store No. 1 Mobile Activity For Shoppers

December 4, 2012 by Dave Haynes

If you are a retail marketer or providing technology and services into that sector, you are probably wrestling everyday to stay on top of all the advances and gadgets having to do with smart devices.

There’s lots of hand-wringing going on about showrooming (doing price comparisons between stores, while in one of those stores), but there are many other things to think about, as well.

The research group Nielsen has pushed out a nice brief about how consumers are actually using their precious smartphones and tablets, and it’s intriguing to see the biggest reason they whip them out is to find a store.

Says the brief:

It’s no secret smartphone owners bring their handsets just about everywhere they go, and Nielsen found that mobile shoppers like to use their devices for in-store activities. In fact, 78 percent of mobile shoppers say they’ve used their smartphone to find a store, and another 63 percent have checked prices online while shopping. Overall, smartphone owners are three times more likely to use their handset for in-store activities, like claiming mobile coupons (39%) or using shopping lists (40%), compared to tablet owners.

Tablet owners, on the other hand, prefer to use their devices for online shopping at home. Nearly half of tablet owners bought products using their devices, of whom nine out of ten say they made these purchases while shopping in their homes. Tablet owners are also more likely to use their devices to research products before making purchases (68%) and for reading online reviews (53%). 

At checkout, more than a quarter of mobile shoppers use their devices for payment, regardless of which device they’re using. Overall, mobile shoppers tend to stay connected even after their purchases, with 18 percent of tablet owners writing reviews about the products, and 22 percent of smartphone owners commenting about their purchase through social media.

If I was in the mall digital directory business, I’d be a little jumpy. What was a compelling offer three years ago – taking the pain out of updating analog directories by going digital and also dynamically serving directions to stores – has been supplanted by the things in shopper hands.

A year or two from now, what will have changed pretty markedly will the percentage of people using their smart devices to complete transactions. It’s an incredibly crowded and fragmented sector right now, but all the banks, all the credit and debit card people, and a lot of online commerce companies, are all investing heavily in this.

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