Smartphones & Tablets: How We Shop Now [Research]

 5 Tips For Improved Shopping Support [Data included]

How we shop now With 115.8 million US smartphone owners and 54.8 million US tablet owners estimated by eMarketer in 2012, how we shop is changing.

Using multiple devices, particularly smartphones and tablets, at different steps of the purchase process is an emerging trend. [Here's more mobile shopping data.]

While a 1Q2012 Viacom study found US tablet owners used their devices at home three quarters of the time, don’t underestimate the importance of tablets in the purchase process.  Roughly one third explicitly used tablets in stores.

Tablets used in stores 36% of time 1Q2012

80% of North American online shoppers used their tablet to research and/or purchase products online according to Local Corporation research conducted by the e-tailing group.

Multiple device (tablet, smartphone & computer) shopping

Nielsen research is consistent, showing that about four out of  five smartphone and tablet owners use their devices at some point during the shopping process. Closer examination of the data shows that consumers use their devices to gather and purchase products as they did with computers; their activities vary by device.

Specifically, tablets are used throughout the purchase process: they’re where customers turn for product research and reviews, where customers buy, and where customers communicate post purchase via social media reviews and comments. By contrast, consumers use their smartphones for on-the-go shopping-related information such as finding store locations, product prices and coupons.

1Q2012 How Smartphone & Tablet Owners Shop

Applications are increasingly used by shoppers according to Kantar Media/Compete research. Retailers’ apps are preferred by a significant percentage of consumers, more than those seeking coupons!  Shopping apps consumers prefer 1q2012 -

Local Corporation’s research conducted by the etailing group provides more granular insights into how consumers use tablets during the shopping process. As a content consumption device, tablets offer consumers many ways to research and buy products online. How consumers use tablets when shopping

What does this smartphone and tablet shopping behavior mean for marketers?

  1. Have a mobile optimized website. Customers don’t like to scroll through your regular slow loading website to get shopping information when they’re out and about. Actionable Mobile Marketing Tip: Think streamlined information and quick load times on mobile devices.
  2. Ensure prospects can find you on mobile search. Since prospects use their smartphones when they’re on-the-go and close to purchase, it’s critical to be findable. Actionable Mobile Marketing Tip: Include your physical address and phone number.
  3. Offer a mobile coupon to close the deal. If they’re checking for deals before they buy, your coupon may sway the deal. Assess how much of a discount you should offer to ensure that you maintain your profit margins. Actionable Mobile Marketing Tip: When offering a special deal, use it as an opportunity to capture a mobile phone number and/or email address in exchange.
  4. Determine whether you need a mobile application alternative. With the growth of mobile applications and consumers’ preference for retailer apps, it’s important to assess if your customers want one. If you’re not sure, check what your competitors are doing and ask your customers if they’d like one. Actionable Mobile Marketing Tip: Don’t overlook the need to promote your application and its use.
  5. Use post purchase communications to drive engagement. If you’ve captured customer email addresses or mobile numbers, use them to check if they’re satisfied. If so, get them to leave a review and, if not, find out why and try to make good. Actionable Mobile Marketing Tip: Take engagement one step further and upsell customers.

With increased smartphone and tablet ownership, consumers are adapting their shopping to leverage the advantages these devices provide, whether they’re at home, in the office or in your store. To convert these prospects, it’s important to provide them with the information they seek and to make effective offers when they’re ready to buy.

What other mobile, smartphone and tablet, shopping recommendations would you add and why?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Here are some related articles of interest.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/morning-theft/3355875232/

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  • http://outcareyourcompetition.com/ Jordan J. Caron

    Heidi,

    A couple months back I was watching a Gary Vaynerchuk keynote speech from last year. He was talking about this very same subject. 

    Businesses can easily provide access to reviews and research on certain products. This would make the purchase process a lot easier. It can be as easy and posting a QR code beside a product that directs the potential buyer to a review or information page.

    I really like your actionable steps at the bottom.  Especially step 5 which is good customer service.