Commentary

In-Store Phone Usage Tied Directly To Shopping Activity

We know from numerous studies that consumers use their phones while shopping in stores.

For marketers, the obvious issue has always been about finding out exactly how shoppers are using their phones both before they travel to the store and then once they get there.

Most studies show that top of the list of what shoppers do is conduct product research and then check competitive pricing.

This matters, since so many consumers are using their phones to shop.

One recent study found that a large majority (83%) of consumers say their smart device is central to their shopping experience. That study, by Euclid Analytics, also found that 67% of consumers shop in stores because they like to see and touch products.

It turns out that most people who use their phones in stores are doing things that directly relate to the purchase decision, according to a new study.

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The study is based on a survey of 2,500 shoppers conducted by InMarket, the beacon platform company.

The consumers surveyed were a combination of those using the InMarket apps platform as well as shoppers in dozens of supermarkets in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago who were approached by members of the research team who asked people using their phones what they were doing with them at the time.

More than half (55%) of shoppers using their phones in stores are using them for shopping related activities, according to the survey. This is how shoppers use mobile in stores:

  • 55% -- Shopping related activities
  • 14% -- Messaging unrelated to shopping
  • 12% -- Listen to music
  • 4% -- Social media
  • 4% -- Email

One interesting tidbit is that only 8% of the consumers using their phones for shopping related activities were using the retailer’s app for the store they were in. This makes it even more challenging for retailers to interact with their in-store customers via mobile, especially during the moments the customer is actively shopping.

For those using their phones for activities related to purchasing, a lot of it is simply checking shopping lists. This makes sense in this survey, since the respondents were primarily in supermarket aisles. Here’s what they’re checking on their phones:

  • 50% -- Shopping List (including texting/calling about the list)
  • 19% Loyalty and rewards
  • 19% Product research
  • 13% Recipes 

Another study that involved a team of secret shoppers making purchases in stores found that most (78%) of retail brands did not offer shoppable mobile apps. That study, Mobile Retail Report by NewStore, focused on 112 leading retail brands in stores in Boston and New York, including Gucci, Nautica, Polo, Dior, Vans, Swatch, Bally and Chanel.

That study found that 64% of brands use in-app push notifications for promotions and other content. If that content is pushed without the use of location technology, such as beacons, the messages could be totally out of context and wasted messaging.

And to the point of relative low app usage of a store’s app, only 4% of brands promote their apps in their stores. Another problem a shopper might find is that only 24% of brands display real-time inventory on their apps and only 18% of store associates are empowered with real-time inventory information.

On the positive side, 88% of brands offer access to a loyalty account through their app.

Reaching a store associate via mobile was hardly at the top of the list of easy things.

Only 12% of store associates gave direct email address, 11% direct phone numbers and 11% corporate email address.

The largest number (35%) of consumers was left to call the store. Not exactly the most effective use of a smartphone in the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle.

4 comments about "In-Store Phone Usage Tied Directly To Shopping Activity".
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  1. Elizabeth Johnson from Pathformance LLC, November 2, 2016 at noon


    By reaching the shopper in the store and engaging shoppers at the moment of decision, the shopper, the brand, and the retailer all win. Elizabeth Johnson – Pathformance

  2. David Burden from Mobile Coupon Factory , November 2, 2016 at 5:35 p.m.

    We would concur with both the article and Elizabeth's comment, there is a significantly higher uptake and action by customers when we either push a customer a coupon offer in-store, or remind them of an offer they have previously saved to the phone. The interactive component of our coupons addsa higher degree of customer engagement.

  3. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, November 2, 2016 at 6:49 p.m.

    Right, but easier said then done, Elizabeth.

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, November 2, 2016 at 6:51 p.m.

    Good point about relevancy of coupons, David. You have any research from your couponing activities?

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