Mobile, Social Driving 36% Of In-Store Sales

Looks like retailers are still from Mars, and customers are from Venus, with $1.1 trillion hanging in the balance. A new study from Deloitte Digital finds that stores are pouring their money into m-commerce sites that don’t appeal to shoppers. And consumers are wandering around physical stores, nursing their digital disappointment.

Shoppers’ digital interactions, including the way they use phones, tablets and computers to access Web sites, email and social media channels, now influence 36 cents of every dollar spent in the physical retail stores, or $1.1 trillion. And by the end of this year, with the increasing penetration of smartphones, says Jeff Simpson, director with Deloitte Consulting’s retail practice and co-author of the report, that’s expected to climb to 50%, or $1.5 trillion in sales. “The pace of growth is far quicker than we’d expected.”

Yet retailers, stubbornly fixated on conversions, “are focusing on the wrong thing,” he tells Marketing Daily. M-commerce sales account for just $40 billion, while mobile-influenced sales have reached $593 billion. “Retailers need to look at the whole customer journey,” he says. “Mobile is not about driving m-commerce sales or conversion. It’s about how it all affects the big number.”

Stores are bumming consumers out in several ways, he says. “For example, Web and mobile sites will include thousands of SKUs, but when consumers get to the store, there may be just 30 to 40% of those available, so shoppers are disappointed. Or mass merchandisers create mobile sites with hundreds of products to page through, far more than can be done well in a mobile experience.”

Nor do stores fully grasp the impact different channels have. “Social media is a good example,” he says. “It really popped in our survey as a post-purchase channel. People go back and share what they just bought, so it has the most impact as the last step. But that also fuels interest other people have in making the same purchase. So while they will then go elsewhere to begin their research and search for coupons, the idea came from social. It's very cyclical.” About 75% of the survey, based on responses from 2,000 adults, say information from social channels has some influence on shopping behavior and loyalty.

Not only did the study find that 84% of digital shoppers used a device as part of the shopping process, turns out that kind of “showrooming” gives stores a big advantage: Consumers who used a device at any point in the shopping process converted to sales at a 40% higher rate. And 22% spent more as a result of using digital. 

The study indicates that such metrics as shopping cart abandonment may not be a failure, “but may represent a customer who started their wish list in the online basket, but chose to purchase the items in the store. In that case, digital engagement may have led to a sale in the physical store. This impact is much higher when measured holistically across the organization and regardless of channels, rather than force-fitted to a single point of purchase.” 

Digital habits have the biggest impact on sales at specialty stores, he says, with considerable variety by category. Electronics and appliances are highest, with devices influencing 58% of store sales, followed by furniture (56%), and sporting goods (50%.) The least impact occurs in the general merchandise, department stores and warehouse clubs, at 23%.

"Mobile Shopping" photo from Shutterstock.

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1 comment about "Mobile, Social Driving 36% Of In-Store Sales".
  1. Tomas Diaz from flexReceipts , April 30, 2014 at 8:22 a.m.
    I couldn't agree more with your comment about social media being the most impactful channel post purchase. Especially, immediately after a consumer has just made a purchase. Why not give consumers a megaphone to broadcast how happy they are at the moment they are happiest with their purchase? retail.flexReceipts.com