Saturday, December 15, 2012

Smartphones Are Quickly Becoming Shoppers’ Best Friends

Have you used a mobile device to buy anything this month? According to a recent Nielson survey, over 45 million people used mobile apps to buy goods online in June 2012.

As huge as this number is, it makes sense if you just look around. Tablets and smartphones are everywhere today. We're using them to play games, pay bills, check Twitter and Facebook, find movie reviews … the list is never-ending.

One thing that was particularly interesting to me about the Nielson survey results is that they only account for people who shop using a mobile app. It doesn't count folks who shopped using a mobile web browser. According to another Nielson survey about the 2011 shopping season, more consumers used a mobile web browser to shop than a mobile app, so there are likely many more transactions happening on mobile devices than reported in this latest survey. That makes that big number even bigger!

As delivery times are shortening and more retailers are offering free and next-day delivery, the convenience for consumers is becoming more and more appealing. Now don't get me wrong. People still enjoy the experience of retail shopping in brick and mortar stores, but low prices, selection, and convenience are now available from home via their mobile devices.

And it turns out that those who use smartphones when they are out shopping are 14% more likely to make an in-store purchase than those without smartphones (according to a recent TIME magazine article).

Retailers need to take note as the presence of omnichannel, multichannel, and e-commerce grows more and more important to customers and new technology develops. Online shopping is NOT the enemy of retail stores – it's the accomplice that will actually save the physical store from extinction.

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