The Role of Mobile in Shopping Behavior
Mobile is playing an increasingly important role in retail. A recent survey of 800 U.S. mobile consumers revealed that mobile devices influence both online and in-store shopping behavior. By understanding these trends, marketers can plan accordingly and devise strategies for maximizing mobile. Here's what retailers need to know:
1. Shopping starts early. Black Friday is no longer the kickoff to the holiday rush. Nearly half (45 percent) of consumers planned to start their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving last year. This could contribute to why an increasing number of retailers decided to stay closed on Thanksgiving last year.
2. To attract millennials, ship for free. Brands trying to attract millennials would be wise to offer free shipping. Seventy-three percent of respondents say free shipping would entice them to make a mobile transaction. Running sales/promotions was the second most successful incentive (51 percent), followed by coupons (45 percent) and price matching (18 percent).
3. Millennials use mobile devices to make purchases. Thirty-four percent of millennials prefer to use a dedicated app for shopping, 34 percent prefer the mobile web and 32 percent have no preference, according to the survey.
Retailers should remember that apps reign supreme — regardless of the season. In fact, eMarketer found that adults spend 86 percent of their nonvoice smartphone usage time on apps. Businesses should consider their app strategy, whether they're building their own or serving targeted in-app ads to connect with their audience. The Top 100 App Store rankings fluctuate frequently, so retailers may want to familiarize themselves with the apps most popular with their category or audience.
The most important takeaway may be that people will buy on mobile. Fifty-seven percent of respondents say they would make a mobile purchase if the product was relevant, and 40 percent have made mobile purchases directly from an advertisement.
4. Mobile even influences in-store shopping. Brick-and-mortar shoppers rely on mobile devices, too. In fact, nine in 10 shoppers find that it’s valuable to have their mobile device with them while shopping in-store. They're using their devices for a variety of purposes, including:
- researching competitor prices (47 percent);
- looking up product reviews (36 percent);
- signing up to receive in-store promotions or discounts (30 percent);
- taking pictures for future reference (28 percent); and
- scanning QR codes (16 percent).
With mobile in-store search up by over 30 percent, mobile devices are as important as the in-store customer service experience. Retailers must consider not only how shoppers use mobile to make online purchases, but how mobile shapes the in-store purchasing journey as well.
Holiday shopping trends come and go, but mobile’s role in commerce is here to stay. By understanding how consumers use their mobile devices, retailers can improve their marketing strategies and use mobile to drive transactions — online and offline.
Mike Owen is executive vice president, North American Sales, AdColony (formerly Opera Mediaworks), a provider of advertising, content distribution and monetization services to the global mobile marketplace.