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53pc of mobile users stop an in-store purchase because of their phone

A new study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau points to the strong use of mobile by consumers while they are inside a retail store, with 73 percent of respondents saying they have used their mobile in store.

The focus of the report, Mobile Phone Shopping Diaries May 2012, is how consumers engage with mobile commerce via a smartphone or feature phone. Key findings include that 53 percent of mobile commerce users have stopped an in-store purchase as a result of using their mobile phone.

“Mobile shoppers today use their mobiles to save them time or money or both -mobile shopping helps make them more efficient,” said Joe Lazlo, senior director of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence at the IAB, New York.  “And since we all love to make the best use of our time and money, these kinds of behaviors are likely to spread and become mainstream really quickly.

“Fighting this trend is certainly going to be a losing strategy, so I predict that savvy marketers will learn to live with, and even court, these newly empowered consumers, who can and do leave a store if they discover a better deal somewhere else,” he said.

Comparing prices
Of those who have stopped a purchase in store as a result of a using a mobile phone, 38 percent have done because they found a better price in another store, 30 percent because they found a better price online, 21 percent because they found a better item online, 13 percent because the product was not available, 11 percent because they saw a negative review, 11 percent because they bought a similar item instead and 11 percent because they could not find information on the product they were planning to purchase.

Other findings include that of those how have used their mobile phone while in store, 34 percent used a mobile device to check prices, 32 percent to take a photo to send to others and 20 percent to check for another store in the area,

Some of the less popular mobile activities in store include checking product reviews, named by 15 percent of respondents, checking for location deals, named by 14 percent, showing a store employee an item, named by 14 percent and scanning a bar code, which 13 percent have done.

For the survey, respondents were asked to check-in via their mobile phone whenever they used the device for commerce over the course of a week.

The report found that 28 percent of mobile commerce encounters are for finding product information, 18 percent are for finding store locations and 12 percent are for comparing prices. Additionally, 9 percent of mobile commerce encounters are for purchasing digital content and 5 percent are for purchasing physical items and tickets.

Only 3 percent of these encounters are for using a mobile coupon.

Robust mobile ads
The results show that mobile commerce is about convenience and getting the best deal.

In terms of what encouraged consumers to engage in a mobile commerce activity, the most popular answer was that mobile is the easiest way to do something, with 24 percent of respondents answering this way. Additionally, 22 percent said they were responding to a mobile ad.

As the second highest mobile commerce driver, mobile ads should give consumers a robust experience.

In the survey, 40 percent of respondents said they want mobile ads to allow them to browse the brand’s broader product offering, 28 percent want to learn more about the brand being advertised.

Additionally, 30 percent said they like personalized ads while 27 percent said personalized ads are OK as long as they have provided permission to receive these ads.

The kinds of personalization that consumers are most open to include location, named by 28 percent of respondents, favorite brands, named by 26 percent, and sites they have visited online, named by 24 percent.

The results point to the multitasking behavior of consumers, with 36 percent of respondents saying they engaged in mobile commerce while watching TV, 16 percent while talking on the phone, 10 percent while on a desktop or laptop and 7 percent while listening to the radio.

“The research shows that 64 percent of mobile commerce encounters happened while the consumer was engaged with some other medium besides their mobile phone, so this is indeed a key challenge,” Mr. Lazlo said.

“One clear opportunity is to encourage the use of mobile as a cross-media tool – for example using audio tagging, bar codes, or other, similar technologies to enable a consumer to easily use their mobile to get more information about a product being advertised via TV, print, or outdoor media,” he said.

“We saw some of that during this year’s Super Bowl, and there’s sure to be more. Consumers still need to learn this behavior, and calls to action must be quick and very clear, but it’s one way to combat the issue of fragmented consumer attention across media.”

The report also found that 47 percent of mobile commerce actions occurred at home. Of these, 61 percent took place in the living room and 20 percent in the bedroom.

Additionally, 29 percent of mobile commerce took place while consumers were out and about and 10 percent at work.

The most popular activity for users who were out and about was searching for a store location.

The top category for mobile commerce usage was digital categories, with 76 percent of respondents, followed by clothing, with 38 percent, entertainment activities, with 34 percent, consumer electronics, with 33 percent, health and beauty, with 31 percent, food and grocery, with 27 percent, furniture and other house wares with 23 percent and tickets with 21 percent.

In terms of how much mobile commerce users spend per month on average, 32 percent spend between $1 and $20, 12 percent between $21 and $40, 16 percent between $41 and $60 and 10 percent over $61.

“This study shows how ‘shopping’ isn’t really a distinct activity anymore,” Mr. Lazlo said. “Instead, mobile shopping activities are really integrated into and happen throughout a consumers’ day, including surprisingly levels while at home, but also while at work, and of course while out and about.

“As shopping becomes an anytime-anywhere phenomenon, savvy marketers and retailers will need to learn to tailor when and how they advertise to make sure they are getting the right message to the right consumer at the right stage of the shopping process,” he said.