The Continual Cycle of Mobile Commerce

Mobile consumers continue to use their phones for shopping, but for paying, not so much.

Smartphones are used throughout the path to purchase and beyond, but less so at the actual transaction while in a store.

While the latest Nielsen research pointed out again that of those who buy using a smartphone most do it at home, they also noted how much usage occurs before an actual transaction in a store.

For example, almost three fourths (70%) of smartphone shoppers use their phones for store locators while in transit and more than a third (37%) after they get to a store.

Mobile shoppers are checking prices, which can be done by barcode scanning, searching or perusing websites.

Shoppers also use their phones post-purchase by posting comments for their friends to see, according to the research. But making a purchase via mobile in a store is a paltry 3%.



This is really no surprise, given that it often is just as easy to take one or several items to a cashier and pay by traditional means. This is how people grew up shopping.

The interesting dynamic is the activity before, around and after the in-store sale.

  • Those who shop at home via mobile may skip a retail trip or two.
  • Those who check for information on the way to a store may decide to go to a different store.
  • Consumers comparing prices in a store may be diverted to other sellers of the same or similar products, taking away the sale from the current merchant.

This one of the challenges of mobile payments: in many cases, the solution deals with only one aspect of the purchase process.

In the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle, as I defied in Mobile Influence, there are six phases:

  • The Pre-Buy.  The research time, often done at home
  • In Transit. When the consumer is running an errand or on the way to the store.
  • On Location. At the physical store.
  • Selection Process. At or near the actual product.
  • Point of Purchase. Mobile checkout, as in where mobile payments have a role.
  • Post-Purchase. The shopper shares info about what they just bought.

Consumers are using their phones all the time, which is one of the reasons mobile commerce is continual.

2 comments about "The Continual Cycle of Mobile Commerce".
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  1. Ned Newhouse from Conde Nast , August 13, 2013 at 2:37 p.m.

    This is exactly why the call and to try and turn and analyze Smartphone use and ad performance into a CPA model would be just plain wrong; and have marketers miss out on a key channel of influence. "Consumers are using their phones all the time" 85% of 75HHI+ own a smartphone. Beef up your mobile marketing or throw your iPhone out the window. But you can't, can you? Good, you're like everyone else.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, August 13, 2013 at 8:42 p.m.

    Totally agree, Ned, old models almost always used initially for the new media.

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