Commentary

One-Handed Shopping: Mobile Users Texting The Brands

Target-AppYes, there are barcodes, QR codes, mobile Web sites and retailer-specific apps galore all trying to capture mobilized shoppers this year. But according to Experian Simmons, the most common m-commerce activity is the consumer texting a business or an organization for more information.

In its latest report on digital behaviors, the data company finds that 23% of smartphone owners and 16% of cell phone owners overall have sent an SMS to a business or group requesting more info related to their shopping activities in the last 30 days.

Experian Simmons says that at least 41 million Americans are using their mobile devices for shopping-related activity now. Second to texting directly for information, m-shoppers are using their devices to research products and compare prices (14% of all users, 20% of smartphone owners). When it comes to the ubiquitous -- at times infamous -- scan codes, 11% of smartphone users (7% of all mobile customers) have snapped and sent a code of some sort in the last month. And 6% of all mobile users (11% of smartphone owners) have used their phones to shop for goods.

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Among the product and service categories people are most interested in purchasing from their cell phones, electronics/games/toys leads the way with 27% expressing interest, followed by event tickets (22%), travel services (17%), apparel (16%), pharmaceuticals (14%), food (14%), financial products (13%), charitable donations (12%), auction items (12%) and personal care (11%).

Interestingly, marketing tactics generally are still not well aligned with preponderant mobile behaviors. So much energy has been exerted in activating the retail channel with apps, mobile Web and scan codes around products, yet the simple, direct text remains the preferred mode of exchange with a brand. Likewise, the multimedia piece of the modern cell phone that users are most comfortable using is the camera. But how many mobile marketing campaigns think hard about how that consumer reflex can be used to pique consumer interest and engagement?

According to Experian Simmons, far and away the most common activity by mobile users in the last 30 days was taking a picture with their phones -- 79% of smartphone users and 72% of all phone users. In fact, the next most common activity is game playing (45% smartphones, 31% all phones). Only 23% of smartphone owners say they even downloaded a new app in the last month. If photo-snapping is the major reflex among mobile users -- even three times more common than app downloading -- then why aren’t marketers leveraging this energy? 

1 comment about "One-Handed Shopping: Mobile Users Texting The Brands ".
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  1. Antony McGregor Dey from Link.Me, April 9, 2012 at 1:25 p.m.

    At link.me we use QR Codes, SMS and NFC for user engagement. Overall we've seen QR codes surpass SMS on average 3:1 with higher averages in the teen audience.

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