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93pc of in-store app users make purchase in physical location: study

May 4, 2012

Bloomingdale's app

NEW YORK – Smartphone users are more likely to make a purchase in-store while simultaneously using their device to seek more information, according to a Wave Collapse executive at Mobile Commerce Daily’s Mcommerce Summit conference.

During the “How the Demanding Mobile Shopper is Changing the Face of Retail” session, the executive discussed how purchases from branded mobile Web sites are leading the way in terms of how consumers purchase goods from a smartphone and are outperforming mobile apps, tablet Web sites and tablet apps. However, the new breed of shoppers mostly purchase at physical retail locations while using their mobile devices to browse and seek out more information about products.

“The people who are using mobile in-store are shoppers,” said Joy Liuzzo, president of Wave Collapse, Washington. “Shoppers who are the most likely to purchase something will do so at either a physical store or a mobile store, rather than those who do not use mobile.

“[Furthermore], that same shopping mentality is happening within a person who uses mobile in the store to scour for more information about products,” she said. “These shoppers are completely different than someone who is just a store shopper and need special attention.”

Mobile is money
Recently, Wave Collapse polled 1,000 people in an online survey. All participants owned an iPhone, Android, Windows Phone or BlackBerry device.

The poll revealed that consumers using mobile while in a physical store are natural shoppers, per Ms. Liuzzo.

In fact, the in-store mobile user is more likely to browse at a physical store.

“[A smartphone] is a tool to help these shoppers while in-store,” Ms. Liuzzo said. “They come in ready to go.

“They are doing this because they have an internal motivation to shop,” she said. “They do not act on external influences such as coupons and sales.”

In-store mobile users are more than twice as likely to have their device in their hand, per Ms. Liuzzo.

The executive also discussed the shopping habits of those who used apps in a physical store versus those who do not.

Of those who do use apps in-store, 93 percent bought something in the past week from a physical store, and 47 percent made a purchase from a mobile site.

Additionally, 84 percent of people who do not use apps in-store made an in-store purchase in a physical store during in the past week and only 13 percent of these consumers made a purchase in the past week from a mobile site.

Shoppers who buy on all platforms are very rare, per Ms. Liuzzo.

Ms. Liuzzo at Mobile Marketer’s Mcommerce Summit

Furthermore, browsing is the norm on mobile as 76 percent of smartphone users reported mostly browsing, not purchasing, on mobile sites.

Meanwhile, 58 percent of consumers who have not purchased on mobile are still looking at products.

Of these users, there was less resistance towards jewelry, airline tickets, automotive, beauty, shoes, home improvement, clothing and pet items.

Also, the most impulse purchases made on mobile included clothing, food/take-out, beauty, pet items and shoes.

In the poll results, Ms. Liuzzo saw no relationship between demographic and mobile shopping habits, but the poll did reveal that there are not many 18-24-year-olds purchasing on mobile. The age range purchasing on mobile begins at 25-years-old.

“The bottom line is that brands must have a browsing mentality in the mobile space,” Ms. Liuzzo said. “A brand does not necessarily have to go down a purchasing path.

“Browsing is great and means that there is some kind of intent,” she said. “Brands should make it easier to shop on mobile for those browsing.

“What we are looking at as we get more ‘shoppers’ using mobile is that browsing is only going to increase as those with the shopper mentality start to get on smartphones, which means all of these trends are going to increase.”

Room for improvement
Despite the increase of browsing on mobile devices, the study also found that users consider mobile shopping less enjoyable than tablet shopping and online shopping.

In fact, 69 percent of users polled enjoy the traditional online shopping experience followed by 54 percent who enjoy shopping on a tablet Web site.

Mobile came in last with only 45 percent of users describing mobile shopping as enjoyable.

Also, in-store mobile users are more likely to find shopping on devices and computers enjoyable.

“People like shopping on tablets better than smartphones because it is a richer experience versus a small mobile screen,” Ms. Liuzzo said. “Also, some people have no clue if a site is mobile-optimized or not.”

The executive also found that mobile lagged behind in-store shopping when consumers were polled on where they purchased goods, but mobile shoppers are likely to be repeat customers.

For example, when users were asked if they bought something in the past week, 87 percent purchased an item in a physical store, 60 percent used ecommerce and 25 percent used a mobile site. Furthermore, 61 percent of users made multiple purchases per week via a mobile site.

Meanwhile, 69 percent of shoppers made multiple purchases per week in a physical store.

Ms. Liuzzo at Mobile Marketer’s Mcommerce Summit

Ms. Liuzzo also studied social media habits of smartphone users and found that 53 percent of consumers polled follow a brand on a social network.

It was also discovered that more than half the people who are following brands on social media give half of their business to those that they follow.

In order to best reach consumers, brands must integrate mobile and social media channels such as Facebook and Pinterest.

“What these people follow is mainly deals and this worries me,” Ms. Liuzzo said “They are not following brands because they get to interact with other users, for the potential to be called-out by the brand or to initiate a two-way conversation.

“As a brand is thinking about its social strategy, it should move away from deals and build a rich environment that keeps users coming back,” she said.

“These people are going to shop anyway, so why not gain followers by building a rich social atmosphere.”

Final Take
Joy Liuzzo is president of Wave Collapse, Washington 

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