Why Are Mobile Shoppers Avoiding Store Associates?
According to a new Google-sponsored study, one in three smartphone shoppers would rather find information using their smartphone than ask a store employee. In categories like electronics and appliances, the percentage is much higher.
The study, Mobile In-Store Research: How in-store shoppers are using mobile devices, surveyed 1,507 smartphone owners who use mobile devices while shopping.
When shopping the appliance category, the survey found that 55 percent of these shoppers use their smartphones to find information. In electronics, the "self-help" rate is 48 percent; baby care, 40 percent; and household care, 39 percent.
Asked what these shoppers were using their smartphones in the store for, the top-two leading response across categories were "Make Price Comparisons," cited by 53 percent, and "Finding Promotional Offers," 39 percent. The remaining two top answers were "Find Locations/Directions," 36 percent, and "Find Hours," 35 percent.
In the electronics and appliance categories, mobile phones are being used for purposes other than saving money. When shopping for electronics, for instance, 51 percent are using smartphones in stores to "Browse," 45 percent to "Find Product Reviews," 42 percent to "Find Product Information," 35 percent to "Find Where Specific Products Are Sold," and 32 percent "To Find Product Availability In-Store." Still, in both categories, "Making Price Comparisons" was the most-mentioned use of smartphones in store.
Overall, the study concluded that despite the price-consciousness, shoppers who use mobile more actually spend more in store. Comparing the in-store purchases of standard smartphone shoppers (use mobile in-store at least once a month) versus frequent (use mobile in-store at least once a week), the basket sizes of frequent mobile shoppers were 25 percent to 50 percent higher.
Overall, Google found 79 percent of smartphone owners are using their phones to help with shopping in physical stores, and they’re being used across categories.
In a blog entry, Adam Grunewald, product marketing manager, mobile ads, noted that some stores are reaching this mobile-enabled shopper by promoting their expanded inventory online or implementing a price match guarantee to retain "savings-hungry shoppers." QR codes linked to information about products, or apps with store maps and real-time inventory are also being used. Wrote Mr. Grunewald, "Whatever tactics marketers choose, it’s clear that smartphones are changing the in-store experience, and that winning the key decision moments at the physical shelves means owning the digital shelves too."
- Understanding smartphone use in stores: Shoppers who use mobile more, spend more in store – Google
- How Mobile Is Transforming the Shopping Experience in Stores – Google
To what degree will smartphones replace store associates as an information source? Is the shift likely to be focused on just a few or many categories? How should affected stores respond?