Smartphones are indeed making shoppers smarter: A new study from Empathica reports that 55% of smartphone owners say they use their mobile devices to check prices while they are shopping. And 27% look at reviews before heading to the checkout aisle. In fact, 9% even take the time out to write a review before they leave the store.
“This is really a new cultural phenomenon,” Gary Edwards, Empathica’s chief customer officer, tells Marketing Daily. “This is a highly value-conscious consumer, who wants to brag about how little they had to spend to get that brand name.”
The survey, which included 6,500 U.S. consumers, also found that three out of four consumers on Facebook have used it to make retail and restaurant decisions; half say they have tried a brand based on a recommendation they got through social media.
But more important, he says, may be the news that 10% of shoppers who don’t own a smartphone have looked for online information while in a store, and that retailers who provide that capability have an edge.
At least half of consumers with smartphones have looked for reviews about a retailer during a visit -- as well as 10% of consumers who don’t even own a smartphone. “Even if they don’t have the technology themselves, they want access to it. This is clearly the future, and stores need a retail digital presence.”
Interestingly, while they checked reviews, they don’t necessarily respond as expected. Just 26% say they would definitely avoid shopping at a store if they first read a negative online review. “The credibility brands gain from publishing all reviews far exceeds the amount of damage that can be inflicted by the occasional negative comment,” he says.
The Toronto-based company, which specializes in customer experience management, also reported that 34% of smartphone owners have scanned a QR code, and 37% have visited a store’s Web page.