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Digitally-driven shoppers most likely to be mobile: study

June 4, 2013

Consumers who rely on digital platforms to help with purchase decisions are also the shoppers most likely to use their mobile devices to do so, according to a new study from GroupM Next.

In GroupM Next’s new “The Digital Consumer Journey” report, the company looks at the motivating behaviors behind six types of digital shoppers – the basic digital consumer, the digitally-driven shopper, the calculated shopper, the retail scout consumer, the brand scout shopper and the eternal shopper. The report also examines how Amazon is playing a role in showrooming and price comparison.

“Of the six segments of digital shoppers we identified in the research, the one which was the most mobile was the digitally-driven segment,” said Jesse Wolfersberger, director of consumer insights at GroupM Next, St. Louis.

“These shoppers use every tool in the digital toolbox and were the most likely to use their mobile device in the purchase process,” he said.

“The people in this segment value convenience above all else, including brand loyalty. They will take their business to whichever brand has the smoothest, most convenient shopping experience. In our survey, their top motivations for shopping digitally were to avoid salespeople and crowds. They want to control the shopping experience, and any company that has a smooth, safe and convenient mobile strategy will earn their business.”

Digitally-savvy consumers
The GroupM Next research was conducted with Compete and looked at more than 168,000 purchases of consumer electronics. Digital had to be used in at least one step in the purchase decision.

Basic digital consumers represented 29 percent of the study’s sample. These consumers rely on search and retail and brand Web sites to aid in the shopping experience and do not consider mobile as a primary digital tool.

The most mobile-heavy group – the digitally-driven group – represent 16 percent of the study’s sample group of consumers. These consumers are early adopters of technology, most likely to find digital advertising as valuable and shop online primarily for convenience.

Calculated shoppers, who also consider mobile as a primary tool for shopping, represent 11 percent of the study’s sample. Compared to the digitally-driven consumers, these shoppers are most concerned with the most information available to them and also tend to be showroomers.

The retail scout group also relies on mobile, but primarily uses their handsets at home. Retail scouts represent 22 percent of the consumers surveyed.

There is also a group of shoppers that are grouped into a category called brand scouts. These consumers rely on search and a brand’s site to help in their shopping experience, are brand-loyal and are swayed by perks such as free shipping.

Forty-eight percent of all of the purchase decisions were heavily influenced by digital media and advertising, pointing to the increasing need for marketers to tie mobile and digital into all aspects of marketing campaigns.

Increasing steps
Pointing to the use of mobile as an aid in the shopping experience, the average digitally-driven consumer took five steps in the path to purchase.

Compared to some of the other types of consumers, the digitally-driven consumer is taking less steps into consideration when shopping.

For instance, calculated shoppers took 14 steps in the path to purchase, likely from checking prices across multiple marketing mediums.

Even further, the study’s group of eternal shoppers took 35 steps in buying a product. These consumers are primarily in research mode and are not looking for price or promotions yet.

“Mobile users are used to getting the best deal,” Mr. Wolfersberger said.

“Some shoppers may take the price of a product they want to buy at face value, mobile shoppers are highly likely to try and find a better price or a coupon,” he said. “Three of the six segments in our study had significant mobile usage, and those three segments were some of most motivated by finding the best deal.”

The mobile-heavy digitally-driven group in the study was also most likely to use social media to influence their purchases. Twenty-nine percent of the group said that social played a role in their purchase pathways.

Additionally, roughly 14 percent of the group visit a branded social site after buying something online.

The digitally-driven group’s reliance on social media is significantly higher than the overall role of social across all six groups observed. According to the report, branded Facebook and Twitter pages only appear in 4 percent of purchase paths.

Amazon effect
The report also looked at the impact Amazon has caused for consumers as part of the purchase decision.

According to the report, Amazon is included in 17 percent of digital pathways leading to a purchase.

Every other retailer site made up a combined 34 percent of traffic. This means that one out of every three consumers that visit a retailer’s site go to Amazon.

GroupM Next also broke down the purchase pathways that included Amazon even further.

For example, 37 percent of the time that a purchase path starts on Amazon, it ultimately ends elsewhere.

Thirty-five percent of the Amazon-included purchase paths ultimately ended on Amazon.

Amazon is used in the middle of a purchase path 22 percent of the time, and 6 percent of Amazon-included paths solely use the online retailer.

As mobile continues to be used primarily for price comparison – much of which is likely taking place on Amazon – simplicity will be key to retailers’ mobile initiatives going forward.

“For the top-tier mobile shoppers, convenience is their currency,” Mr. Wolfersberger said.

“Mobile sites have to load quickly, look great, and give them the exact information they are looking for,” he said.

“If the mobile experience is frustrating in the least, they will move to the next brand, it is as simple as that. Price is always at top of mind, but for highly mobile shoppers, free shipping, free returns, and in-store pickup can be just as motivating as a lower price.”

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

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