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Retailers with mobile strategies to have stronger holiday revenues: Yankee Group

November 26, 2009

Consumers are going mobile

Consumers are going mobile

Mobile retail offerings will transform the behavior of consumers this holiday shopping season, according a new study by the Yankee Group.

The new study, “’Tis the Season: Mobile Retailing Will Transform 2009 Holiday Shopping,” also found that 63 percent of American shoppers will spend less this year. Yankee Group said that 31 percent of smartphone users have used their devices to compare products and prices while shopping in a retail location.

“Because of the economy, because of the obvious decline in consumer confidence, the loss of wealth and other economic challenges, consumers will have a much stronger considered-purchase behavior,” said Christopher Collins, senior analyst at Yankee Group, Boston. “The way people shop for homes and cars as a multistage process is what I believe consumers are going to do for everything this holiday season.

“The way consumers shop emotionally and visually is out the window,” he said. “People are going to be really be much more deliberate and conscious about their approach.”

“You have the availability of these incredibly powerful mobile apps for product and price comparison that are changing the retail experience, taking the power away from retailers who had control.”

Yankee Group is a research firm that is focused on connectivity and technology.

Connect with the consumers
Mr. Collins predicted that consumers will spend more time considering purchases, leading to a cut down on impulse purchases.

Mobile will help consumers make more informed purchases.

Mr. Collins said that with the increase in smartphone usage and Web-enabled mobile devices, consumers will be comparing prices and products looking for the best bang for their buck.

Retailers need to embrace mobile technology in order to emerge from the recession as a stronger entity.

Yankee Group predicts that retailers that engage consumers with mobile coupons, mobile loyalty programs and mobile marketing will have stronger holiday-season revenue.

Mr. Collins said that retailers that fail to embrace mobile will be punished by the success of competitors that do so.

Of the 31 percent who comparison-shopped on a smartphone, 40 percent said that they changed their behavior either by buying a cheaper item or making the purchase from a different retailer.

However, despite online advertising, product reviews and shopping blogs, 70 percent of purchase decisions are still made in the store.

Mr. Collins said that retailers need to reimagine the customer experience and expand the customer relationship.

For example, Mr. Collins said that an electronics retailer needs to change the experience so that it can interact with customers over a longer period of time. Mr. Collins suggested video-game-playing rooms and charging stations as a way to engage the consumer and establish a better in-store experience.

“Retailers really need to recognize mobility as a very big part of the shopping process,” Mr. Collins said. “They need to embrace it and look for ways to become part of that process like having a mobile Web site that compliments the retail establishment and gives consumers incentive to use them.”

 “Historically, retailers had tremendous amount of control in purchasing decisions,” he said. “They had an enormous influence in purchasing decisions, but this year we’re really going to see a big change.

“Consumers are still making decisions in-store, but they are making them with additional information at their fingertips through smartphones.”

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Chirs Harnick is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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