Commentary

70% Of Those Who Bought In A Store Checked Mobile First

The simple shopping habits before smartphones typically involved a lot of searching at home and shopping in stores.

A consumer could have been searching online or browsing through newspaper ads before heading to a store or mall. Those were essentially the two main shopping arenas.

Smartphones extended shopping activity so that it could be all the time and in any place.

That created what I identified in one of my books as the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle, where marketers can interact with and influence consumers in a number of different times and locations to impact a sale.

There is the time at home, in transit, at location, near the actual product, at the point of sale and finally after the purchase where marketing influence points exist.

An interesting new study now has examined just how consumers use their smartphones throughout the day and how their needs are met by that usage.

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Many studies have shown that consumers frequently use mobile search when shopping and this study found that most (92%) consumers who searched on their phone made a related purchase.

The study comprised a survey of 1,000 smartphone users who answered questions several times a day for a week to determine their needs throughout the day and the actions they took in response.

The survey, which ended with more than 14,000 responses, was conducted by the research firm Purchased for Google.

Almost all (96%) consumers use their phones to get things done, according to the survey. And as might be expected, 87% of people turn to search first, which is the most used resource, as Google likely knew before the research.

However, visiting a store or other location is right up there with search. This is consistent with numerous studies that show consumers use their phones throughout the shopping life cycle but most of the money for things being sold changes hands in a physical store.

Here are the mobile actions that most commonly preceded a purchase, according to the survey:

  • 30% -- Used a search engine
  • 30% -- Visited a store or other location
  • 24% -- Visited a retailer website or app
  • 14% -- Visited another website or app
  • 13% -- Used a map

Outside of getting ready for an imminent purchase, getting things done using a smartphone involves a wide range of activities. Besides using a search engine, consumers also are checking out retailer websites, scoping out other stores, watching videos and even making phone calls. Here’s how consumers used smartphones to address their needs:

  • 40% -- Search engine
  • 19% -- Visited a retailer website or app
  • 19% -- Visited another website or app
  • 15% -- Visited a store or other location
  • 12% -- Used a map
  • 10% -- Looked at images or photos on a site or app
  • 8% -- Asked someone via a call, online messenger or text message
  • 6% -- Watched an online video
  • 6% -- Used social media
  • 6% -- Connected with a business

For commerce, mobile is at center stage. For example, 70% of smartphone owners who bought something in a store first turned to their device for information related to that purchase.

The tricky part here is that a retailer may never see the actual mobile activity that could be heavily influencing sales in their stores.

Some of this activity happens well before a store visit. The majority (68%) of consumers search on their smartphones for things they want to address at some point in the future.

Interestingly, at the actual moment consumers want to make a purchase, most (65%) used a mobile phone during that moment.

The number one way that those in-the-moment purchase considerations are addressed by 71% of consumers is by visiting a retailer’s website or app.

The purchase is likely to end up happening in the store, but the sale is being made elsewhere via mobile.

And that is what end-to-end mobile commerce is all about.

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