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5 Ways Shoppers Are Using Their Mobile Phones in Your Store

There’s no denying it: shoppers are using smartphones in your stores.

In fact, 86% of retailers report that customers use mobile phones while shopping in stores, according to the results of our most recent Retailer eCommerce Study. Such a drive toward a new, omni-channel consumer poses both advantages, and potential dangers for retailers. Bottom line, if you don’t understand how and why consumers use phones in physical stores, you’re putting the decision in their hands to shop somewhere else.

Download the Retailer eCommerce Study

Mobile shoppers check prices in stores

Let’s just get this out of the way: Statistics across the board show that when shoppers look at their phones in store aisles, they are doing so to check competitors’ prices. Our own retailer survey, for example, found that 58% of mobile phone users are comparing prices.

Should you just call it quits and hoist the white flag? Absolutely not. Should you become aggressive and militant with bargain-minded shoppers? Even worse idea.

One popular method that retailers are employing is price matching. And more than half (57%) of shoppers are receptive to price matching, according to this infographic by Aprimo. While price matching alone isn’t a sustainable strategy, adjusting your prices on the fly will build confidence among your customers, capture sales that would otherwise be lost, and open the doors to up-sell and cross-sell.

Mobile shoppers are looking for promos

Aside from price comparisons, smartphone shoppers most often use their devices to search for promotional offers.

According to this study by Google, “Mobile In-Store Research,” 39% of shoppers will use a smartphone to find such offers. This provides a prime opportunity for you, as the retailer, to win over that shopper by meeting his or her expectations.

If you are running promotions, flaunt them online. As price-minded as shoppers can be, they are also looking for convenience. If they use a smartphone to hunt for deals, and see an online promotion for the store they’re already in, that’s a win-win.

Mobile shoppers are looking for product info

According to our 2013 retailer survey, 38% of mobile shoppers are using their phones to find useful product information. Whether that information is a consumer review or product specs, mobile shoppers want more detail than what they can find on the box.

But here’s the catch: mobile shoppers would rather do the research on their own. In fact, Google found that one in three smartphone shoppers would rather use their smartphone than consult a store employee. This increased to 50% for smartphone shoppers browsing electronics and appliances.

In other words, don’t brow beat your customers. Instead, make it easy for them to find product information themselves. Optimize your site to display helpful product details in a mobile-friendly environment (actually, this applies for branded manufacturers as well as retailers). Do this, and you will not only combat showrooming, but you will see marked improvements in online conversion rates.

Mobile shoppers don’t want your app

Sorry. I know you think your app is second only to the first moon landing, but consumers would rather use good ‘ol fashioned search. Indeed, 82% of shoppers will first consult search engines to find product information over a dedicated app.

However, this means there’s yet another opportunity for you, because you can rely on your tried and true SEO and online marketing strategies rather than building a complex and costly mobile app.

Mobile shoppers spend more

With all the doom and gloom we’ve heard about smartphone shoppers and showrooming in recent years, sometimes it’s nice to focus on the good. Fortunately, the good, in this case, is really good.

On average, in-store shoppers who use their smartphones spend 25% to 50% more than non-smartphone counterparts.

Sure, showrooming is a tough challenge for retailers to overcome. But these statistics show that those who do overcome the challenge can reap huge rewards. It’s just a matter of giving mobile-armed in-store shoppers what they’re looking for: price options, a good deal, rich product information, and convenience. Granted, this will require some head scratching on your part, but in the end, it will be more than worth your while.

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