Commentary

Moms Confirm The M-Shopping, E-Buying Ritual

I know, I know. How many surveys can we stand about how mobilized the consumer expects to be this coming holiday? We get it. It is going to be a big honkin' M-Christmas.

But you look for the nuggets of interesting new takes from some of these surveys. And I found one this week from ad technology and data co-op platform Adroit Digital, whose research targeted moms online about their planned use of the digital channels to make gift purchases.

While Adroit asked its sample base of 1,000 moms during early October the usual questions about their intended use of mobile, one question in particular connected device and desktop. First of all, the level of comfort with purchasing on devices has accelerated markedly in the last year. Of the moms polled, only 13% said they would not be using their tablets or smartphones to make their online holiday purchases. The largest share -- 38% -- said they would be making less than 25% of their online purchases from devices. That means about 49% of moms said they would be making more than 25% of their purchases on a device this holiday. Even if that way overestimates actual device-based spend, it is a huge indicator of increased comfort levels with devices as buying tools. In fact, 28% of the group of moms said they would be spending between 25% and 49% of their online budget from a device. The percentages are higher when you drill into the younger subsets.

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But the most interesting stat from this survey connects mobile to desktop. Adroit asked what percentage of purchases a mom eventually made from the desktop or laptop was researched or browsed on a device prior to selling the deal. While 36% said that less than a quarter of their online buys involved mobile research at some point, about 65% said devices had played a role more than a quarter of the time. And 36% said that half or more of the time they researched products on mobile before making the buy on the traditional Web. This finding is especially relevant because it supports the argument that mobile is a shopping tool that may not convert often, but is undeniably part of the user's path to purchase.

One of the places that devices are getting into the path is during trips to the physical store. This survey suggests that moms have made the device a part of the shopping ritual out-of-home. A quarter of moms said they use devices in store at least half the time they shop. For younger users, that figure goes up to 31%.

When it comes to moms on mobile and in the store, discounts are the way to her heart. When asked what they will be doing in-store with their devices, 56% said they would be looking for a discount or a coupon. IT sounds as if these shoppers are looking to buy, but would like a little push.

But right behind discount hunting, 50% of moms said they would be engaged in classic showrooming -- checking for better prices -- while 42% would be looking for better prices specifically from nearby retailers. Research will be an in-store mobile activity for 43% of moms. Less than a third (30%) expect to scan a code or take a picture of an item.

Finally, the importance of mobile to moms and their buying cycles is underscored by the short nature of the path to purchase. Well over half -- 62% -- of moms said they would make a same-day decision to purchase an item they saw online or in an ad. Interestingly, the path to purchase is tighter, but still not immediate. Only 11% said that they would make the purchase immediately, but 51% expect to pull the trigger at some point the same day.

All of this demonstrates how important multi-screen presence and seamlessness is for most retailers both online and off. The decision cycle can easily move from inspiration to consideration to clicking the buy button in a matter of hours. Being available at that point of decision is a game of hours, not days.

The full study is available from Adroit.

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