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Smartphones influence 84pc of millennials shopping in stores: report

Retailers should stop thinking of mobile as a disruptor but instead embrace it to help usher in sales by making the shopper’s journey more efficient, as 34 percent of consumers leverage devices in-store for product information, according to new insights from Alliance Data.

Millennials are shifting the way retailers need to think of the customer journey, as 63 percent of them claim to shop on their phones everyday. Smartphones are becoming increasingly important at bricks-and-mortar with 84 percent of millennials claiming to use their phones for shopping assistance while in a store.

“Mobile is not so much a disrupter as it is an enabler in the customer journey. Shoppers always have relied on research and social influences in their purchasing decisions; mobile just brings a greater efficiency to the process, streamlining the shopper journey,” said Tom Colven, senior analyst of strategic insights group at Alliance Data. “Retailers need to embrace mobile as part of the path to purchase.

“When they see a shopper in the store using a mobile device, it is likely they are seeking support for their purchase, either to know they are getting a good price or that their peer group is providing positive feedback before they get to the checkout,” he said. “Any brick-and-mortar retailers that do not embrace mobile at this point and latch on to key moments (like the Pokemon Go phenomenon of this summer, for example) risk being left behind by competitors.”

Shopping journey
Shoppers are leveraging a multitude of devices throughout their customer journey to help influence their decisions, and mobile is a key step in the process. Retailers that do not embrace the new customer journey are likely to miss out.

Consumers are highly influenced by a series of touch points when it comes to making a purchasing decision. While many are using their smartphones in-stores to decide, 22 percent are also consulting their friends.

Deals and discounts are becoming a significant decision driver as well, with millennials now being three times more likely to visit a coupon Web site and four times more likely to compare products online. However, coupons in general have not completely gone digital with 42 percent still printing out downloadable deals.

Millennials are also still purchasing items in store with 53 percent still going to bricks-and-mortar locations for buying. But mobile is still a major influencer here, with 65 percent claiming to use devices while waiting to checkout.

In the past, users were more apprehensive about making purchase on Web sites on their mobile devices, but now 65 percent of millennials are comfortable with it. But mobile pay is still lacking with only 14 percent claiming to pay with smartphones in stores.

Sharing opinions
After millennial customers have completed their purchases, 14 percent take to social media, retailer Web sites and other avenues to share their experiences and reviews.

“It might not be completely surprising, but mobile has made it more clear that shoppers need validation after they have made a purchase,” Mr. Colven said “So they are soliciting input from their friends via their social channels as they are shopping, but after the purchase, they are posting their new items and still soliciting comments and feedback.”