The ‘Mobile Mind-Set’ and its Impact on Buying Behavior
Understanding consumers through the windows of their smartphones is undoubtedly one of the greatest marketing challenges retailers need to embrace. Consumer behavior on smartphones is governed by different cognitive principles than behavior on other devices like laptops or desktops. Inevitably this means that consumers make different browsing and purchasing decisions when they're using smaller devices.
And while marketers understand the notion that consumers behave differently on their smartphones than they do on laptops or other devices, very little research exists on the actual thought processes and emotions behind these behaviors.
For that reason, Clicktale partnered with The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Together, both parties analyzed the way consumers interact with brands through smartphones by measuring the precise screen taps, scrolls and zooms of more than a million consumers to identify behavioral patterns. The main conclusion from the research? When consumers unlock their smartphones, they subsequently enter a distinct psychological safe zone, a "mobile mind-set" where they look for solace, comfort and relaxation.
For retailers, this safe zone has unique implications in terms of the content consumers want to engage with, and how they want to consume it.
Entertaining Content Fares Better Than Scientific or Factual Content
Within the safe zone of smartphone use, consumers are 35 percent more likely to engage with entertaining content like pop culture, sport or films than science, facts or hard news. And because they’re engaging with "lighter" content, consumers tend to be far more relaxed. This relaxed state of mind means that consumers tend to prefer convenience, opting for "fast and functional" content that involves as short a user journey as possible to satisfy a need for instant gratification.
What the Findings Mean for Marketers
For retailers, these findings mean they should consider optimizing and providing entertainment-led content in an easily digestible way for consumers using smartphones. Content should evoke emotion, be seamless and stress-free. And because smartphone users tend to be in a relaxed state of mind, they’re almost twice as likely to subscribe to marketing newsletters than desktop users — and are likely to pay 6.5 percent more for shipping on mobile. Therefore, marketers should consider tailoring shipping options to the device the customer is using to generate better experiences.
Where fast and functional content on mobile is concerned, retailers should consider using mobile redirects and responsive designs to make clearance items, coupons and store locators more prominent, while downplaying search functions and long-form content like Q&As on customer service pages.
Step Into the Shoes of Your Customers
If you’re serious about driving sales on mobile devices, it’s now no longer enough simply to have a mobile-optimized site. In many countries, mobile traffic has overtaken desktop traffic, yet retail e-commerce conversion rates on mobile still lag behind desktops. For example, Clicktale’s research shows that desktop users are 36 percent more likely to purchase gifts for other people than mobile users are. This gap exists to some extent because the mobile mind-set is individualistic and self-focused. However, small changes to the mobile experience can make a big difference — and can start to chip away at that statistic.
By understanding the emotional triggers that smartphones impart on their users, marketers can tailor the experience on each device to satisfy any particular mind-set. After all, a better experience equals better customer loyalty, which ultimately leads to more revenue.
Dr. Liraz Margalit is head of digital behavioral research at Clicktale, a provider of experience analytics.
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