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90pc of gas and convenience chain mobile searchers convert: study

July 16, 2013

Putting the pedal to the medal

Almost all consumers who search for gas and convenience store information via their mobile devices end up converting, according to a new study from xAd and Telmetrics.

The second annual “XAd-Telemetrics U.S. Mobile Path-to-Purchase” study was conducted by Nielsen and looks at how mobile plays a role in the gas and convenience store purchase decisions from consumers. Additionally, the study looks at how location affects mobile searchers.

“Gas and convenience users are making decisions on the go, making smartphones the primary research tool for this category,” said Monica Ho, vice president of marketing at xAd, New York.

“They want to make fast decisions, but are often undecided and can take up to an hour to make a decision,” she said. “If you can reach a user in the moment, there is plenty of room to influence their choice.”

Quick searches
According to the report, two-thirds of consumers who search for gas and convenience categories via their mobile device only use their handsets for searching.

Additionally, 85 percent of the time that consumers spend in the category via a smartphone is spent looking for searches around price comparisons.

Eighty-eight percent of the searchers plan to purchase gas within the day, but only 10 percent already have a location in mind, pointing to the importance that mobile plays in triggering quick sales.

However, gas and convenience searchers also spend more time making searches, meaning that marketers have more time to potentially influence sales.

Mobile drives in-store traffic

Fifty percent of smartphone searches for convenience store and gas chains were 50 percent longer than the average retailer session. The average convenience store and gas chain session lasted six minutes compared to the four-minute retail sessions.

Tablet users spent an average of 2.9 minutes in a session researching convenience store and gas chains.

Ninety-seven percent of search time for gas and convenience chain users is spent in mobile applications, explaining why gas store chains tend to use apps for building loyalty programs.

These consumers are also using their mobile devices through all steps of the research process. Sixty-four percent of smartphone searchers used their devices in all purchase-decision steps, and 80 percent of consumers either started or ended their searches from a smartphone or tablet.

Location, location, location
Unsurprisingly, location is a major factor in how consumers search for gas and convenience store goods via their devices.

Seventy-nine percent of smartphone users who made gas and convenience store searches expected to find results within five miles of where they were searching. Sixty-five percent of tablet users said the same.

Moreover, 66 percent of smartphone searchers expected to make a purchase within one hour of conducting a search.

Thirty-three percent of smartphone searchers knew exactly what they were looking for when they made a search.

A whopping 77 percent of smartphone searches for convenience and gas store locations take place outside the home.

There are also some advertising implications that are specific to mobile searches for gas station and convenience store chains.

Seventy-seven percent of smartphone gas and convenience chain searchers said that they had seen a mobile ad in the past month. Seventy-two percent of tablet users also responded that they had seen an ad in the past 30 days.

Adding a coupon to these mobile ads is effective at driving in-store traffic.

In fact, 27 percent of smartphone and tablet owners said that they would be likely to click on a mobile ad tied to a coupon or promotion, and about 23 percent said that they would click on an ad that was locally relevant to them.

Mobile especially plays a key role in helping consumers save money as gas prices are expected to increase this summer.

“As gas prices continue to increase, price sensitivity will drive more pre-shopping behaviors,” Ms. Ho said.

“Smartphones allow consumers to make an educated decision on where they can find the best prices in their close proximity,” she said. “For marketers, providing the right tools at the right time will make all the difference.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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