Smartphones drive the retail experience

July 11, 2014

In the digital age, people have come to rely on smartphones for many purposes. They’re practically inseparable from one another. In what the retail industry views as a natural progression from accessing calls, texts, and emails, consumers are also using their smartphones as part of the shopping process.

In a new report by G/O Digital and Keyring, 90% of respondents affirmed that they use their smartphones at some point while shopping. The study investigates the ways in which consumers are using mobile technology and makes some targeted suggestions for retailers looking to keep up with their shoppers.

Smartphones grant access

According to the survey, a staggering 90% of respondents chose their smartphones as the most convenient devices for in-store shopping activities.

When asked about their pre-store shopping practices, 89.3% of respondents acknowledge that they prefer using their smartphones to other devices for making shopping lists. Up to 61% write shopping lists frequently.

Research is key

key-ring-big-1An impressive 55.4% of respondents stated that they use their mobile devices to conduct price-related searches: searching for coupons, browsing deals and sales, and comparing prices. 47.4% of respondents stated that they are most likely to purchase one of the items they’re researching when that item’s price is discounted through a sale or coupon.

Trends vary by store

Although consumer research is important across all kinds of retail stores, consumer preferences differ from category to category.

Consumers shopping for apparel and shoes are vastly more likely to purchase an item while it is on sale or clearance: 60.7% of respondents chose this as the top purchase influencer. By comparison, coupons accounted for 10.9% of influence, while brands were ranked even lower at 7.9%. These shoppers are looking for savings on the products they want.

Consumers shopping for groceries rated sales (29.8%), quality (26.4%), and everyday low prices (20.7%) as the most significant influences. Coupons were chosen by only 13.1% of respondents. These shoppers are looking for consistency in the stores they frequent.

Consumers shopping for electronics value reviews and ratings more than any other factor: 54.4% of respondents chose it as the most important influence on the purchase process. 21.1% chose sales, and 15.2% chose brands, but only 3.4% chose coupons. These shoppers are looking for trustworthiness in the products they want.

Recommendation: personalize information and advertising

The report suggests that retailers invest in targeted advertising for specific locales. Consumers are more receptive to advertising that seems to understand their needs, and they are more responsive to stores that provide “personalized content.”

The report states:

In today’s “Age of the Customer,” consumers want and expect the shopping experience across every single channel and device to be highly personal, relevant and targeted to their local needs – and in real-time too.

Retailers should also think about how smartphones and general connectivity affect the store selection experience for their shoppers. Consumers are likely to use their smartphones for everything from locating stores to reading store reviews, looking up hours, and even checking location inventory. Stores should be looking to make this information as available to mobile platforms as possible. The easier it is for research-savvy consumers to find a retailer’s locations, inventories, and discounts through mobile research, the greater the opportunity for that retailer to win the sale by influencing the purchasing process.

HMS can help

All of the above information points merchants toward a single conclusion: cater to your customers in their real-time local environment. HMS simplifies this task by offering point-of-sale solutions for your business. With a POS system, you gain access to many features: you can automate your inventorying system, integrate e-commerce, and track trends.

Automated inventory and integrated e-commerce options allow you to provide your customers with up-to-date online information about your stock, and they also enable your customers to make online purchases immediately.

POS systems also provide reporting features, which allow you to track sales by item, the success of certain promotional campaigns, and customer loyalty. These features, in turn, allow you to customize your business strategy to better reach your target audience. They allow you to design more effective marketing campaigns, distribute relevant promotional information, and maintain customer loyalty.

For more information about our POS solutions, please contact us.

Image and facts from The Local Mobile Advantage of Retailing (report).

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