Hello hello: This is how smartphones are changing the way we shop

Prelini Udayan-Chiechi is VP marketing EMEA at Bazaarvoice

According to the recently released Mobile Mandate, smartphone purchases will represent up to two thirds of all ecommerce by 2020, with Brits using mobile to research and compare prices ahead of purchasing, and spending more on mobiles while in-store. 

These results complement Bazaarvoice’s yearly research findings - the mobile future has arrived, and is headed in-store. A recent report from Bazaarvoice highlights that as much as 30 per cent of consumers have changed their mind in a shopping aisle as a result of information gathered on their smartphone about a purchase. This is ever more relevant as consumers try to evaluate the relative value of an item in-store. Mobile shoppers are looking for specific information about products, checking out consumer-generated content (CGC), such as product ratings and reviews, and Q&A, but also for visual CGC, like product photos and videos.

A good example of an integrated strategy is The Home Depot, which sends location-specific coupons and promotions to consumers in store, just as The Home Depot’s mobile site gives shoppers access to real-time store inventory, pricing, and aisle location for merchandise in the physical store. Store inventory integration allows shoppers to order items that are out of stock for store pick-up later—all via smartphones. Interactions such as these demonstrate how brick and mortar retailers should no longer fear the mobile shopper, but instead embrace consumers behaviour of using these devices to search for product information, CGC, and price comparisons. It is precisely in these moments that a retailer has an ideal opportunity to reach shoppers with personalised advertising displaying targeted CGC.

Argos, for instance, uses customer feedback to refine product offerings and improve the shopping experience in-store by ensuring the same valuable CGC is available to its retail customers. As Mark Steel, Digital Operations Director, Argos Ltd puts it: “I do genuinely believe mobile is still one of the most important factors, one of the most important trends when we’re thinking about delivering a great experience for our customers. The power and the technology that the vast majority of our customers now carry around with them every single day, it’s just opening up a whole new world of opportunities for retailers to engage with their customers.”

Consumer adoption of smart phones and devices is no doubt proving to be the single most important trend in consumer purchasing behaviour in the last 20 years, with omni-channel shoppers beginning to expect an integrated experience in the shopping aisle and real interaction points at every step along the way. Brands have a window into the retail channel and the in-store shopper, providing a wealth of opportunity for buyers and sellers alike.

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