How are mobile technology and consumers' habits impacting the retail market? You may think that the two are unrelated or that the bridge between mobile and brick-and-mortar institutions hasn't unified the gap. However, two studies are showing marketers and business owners that mobile technology is impacting sales in physical retail stores.
Marketing Profs reports that a new study from SDL has found that 62 percent of shoppers use a mobile device at a brand's physical location to compare products and prices. Another 77 percent of survey respondents claim that they visit the showroom of a company to evaluate a product in person to determine whether they will purchase the item online at another time. This trend varied by geography, however, only 71 percent of U.S. respondents claim they "showroom" in contrast to the 90 percent of consumers in Singapore who've made this a popular practice.
This research also found that 70 percent of survey respondents in the U.S. want pricing and discounts to be the same in store, online and on mobile apps. The UK respondents agreed at 69 percent, Australia at 70 percent and Singapore at 72 percent.
Interestingly, this wish for a seamless shopping experience regardless of whether a customer is using a mobile application or inside a brick-and-mortar location was corroborated by another study. A study from Kentico Software has found that 85 percent of smartphone owners use their mobile devices to compare companies, products and prices. This and other figures demonstrated that survey respondents didn't just want the ability to shop online, they wanted the entire experience of shopping in a store translated into a mobile application.
The look of a website could highly impact a consumer's willingness to purchase from the company online – 78 percent for smartphone owners, 75 percent for tablet owners and 69 percent for laptop owners.
"Our survey suggests that while shoppers like the convenience of shopping online via mobile devices, they still want as much of an in-store experience as possible," said Petr Palas, Kentico CEO and founder, according to the news source. "While it may be impossible for businesses to provide mobile shoppers with a 100 percent in-store experience, they need to make mobile shoppers 'feel' as if they're truly in their stores, touching their products, talking to sales reps and being catered to. Otherwise, they will lose business to those sites that do."
The survey found that 63 percent of respondents would rather shop in a store's physical location than the internet. However, when buying online, consumers would almost always rather use a device with a larger screen. Business News Daily reports that respondents preferred shopping on a desktop by 48 percent, a laptop by 40 percent, tablets by 9 percent and mobile phones by 3 percent. When a consumer does purchase an item with a mobile application, respondents claimed that 76 percent of smartphone users and 78 percent of tablet users return to the website and product in question often to get a frequent, good look at the item.
"This goes beyond what businesses actually do and sell online," Palas said. "If their sites aren't mobile-friendly, people who are out and about will forge new brand relationships with competitors, and they'll take these relationships back home with them to their computers. When it comes to making and breaking customer relationships, it's all happening on mobile devices."
For developers and marketers looking to enhance the mobile experience, it is important to remember some of the thrill of going to a brick-and-mortar store must translate to the website or application.