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Mobile Shopping: Pros and cons for retailers

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Via LinkedIn : Although mobile shopping via smartphone is still in its infancy in many countries around the world. Mobile wallet or NFC usage is still gaining traction with consumers. Only U.S. had a majority of smartphone users who use a shopping or retail app at least once a month. But smartphone users in a variety of countries are using their mobile to browse to research about products, if not purchase, conduct price comparison and read product reviews.

Serving mobile customers is quite different than addressing needs for desktop users. Mobile products must cater particular needs to meet expectations for consumers on the go. Location is much more important and convenience is a differentiation variable when selecting the right store, restaurant, sports / fitness retailer, health facility.

94% of smartphone users search for location info.

51% visited a store

48% called a store

29% made a purchase in-store and did so quickly

More findings…..

80% of mobile search triggered store visits happen within 5 hours of initial search

85% of mobile search triggered calls to stores happen within 5 hours of initial search

80% of smartphone users use their mobile for shopping research and 80% of those do their research in store.

Today retailers are facing threats and customers buying in the store are decreasing, people use the store as a showroom to collect info and research online all alternatives, matching prices, quality and after sale support to perform the actual purchase online or via mobile.

Retailers should approach showrooming as an opportunity. Many of them are engaging with customers while they’re shopping, Sprint won an award for its in-store experience. Spending time with customers to answer questions and setup their devices to ensure they get the most out of it.

In-store customers often had more product info by accessing product reviews and ratings. User experience is enhanced in addition by enabling customers to in-store pickup with fast track delivery saving time and avoiding queues when they arrive at the store. Some others like best buy, equip their sales force with tablets to access price offered by competitors and match the lowest available, if item is out of stock in the store, the same representative could assist the customer to complete the transaction online.

Office Depot is rolling out mobile point of sale in all the stores, enabling customers to check out anywhere within the store using a credit or debit card to avoid lines. Mobile POS devices will also allow staff to look up product info online and place online orders to complete in-store transactions.

As retailer, you may opt for selling unique items to prevent price comparison. Other methods include offer private label brands, exclusive partnerships, for instance in food industry is key to differentiate by positioning with specialized elaborated dishes using high quality ingredients, e.g. Asian food restaurant chains compete for innovation and get recognition by selecting fresh vegetables and maintaining strong ties with their suppliers / producers, farmers, in exchange for premium menu placement (special advertising), i.e. Tesco in Europe or Marel chosen as a meat processing supplier in America. Taking pictures and video is also a popular activity among cell phone owners, so it is very likely a happy customer posting to social networking its dining experience in the restaurant itself. Cell phone owners in Latin America generally are more likely than those in other countries to use mobile phones for this purpose.

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