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66pc of tablet shoppers leverage mobile during path to purchase: report

Mobile is a key influencer for tablet purchasers during the research and evaluation phase of shopping, but it is rarely used to actually buy tablet devices.

Mobile, social and online factors influence tablet purchasers very differently at separate stages in the purchase journey, according to a new study “The Tablet Path to Purchase: The Mobile, Social and Online Journey” from market research and consulting firm Chadwick Martin Bailey. Consumer electronics retailers can respond to the data of this study by leveraging customer reviews online and sensational in-store experiences in order to make a sale.

“Brands can benefit from this data by adjusting their marketing spend priorities based on what actually has the greatest reach and impact in the tablet purchase journey,” said Chris Neal, vice president of tech practice at CMB, Boston. “Retailers can benefit by understanding the profile of consumers who typically make tablet purchases from within a retail store, why they buy at specific retailers, versus buying the product online, and how to sway more consumer segments to buy from their bricks-and-mortar retail store versus some other channel.”

Mobile driving in-store
The study, which surveyed 2,000 consumers ages 18 and up who had purchased a tablet in the last 90 days, shows that mobile devices are used by 66 percent of tablet shoppers during their purchase journey, but only 8 percent of tablet purchasers complete their purchase on a mobile device.

In-store mobile activities play an important role.

During the research and evaluation phase, 25 percent of tablet purchasers speak with a retail sales associate. The same number of respondents uses mobile devices while in the retail store to compare prices, check online reviews, text a friend for advice, or pay with a mobile wallet.

According to the study, mobile applications are used infrequently throughout the purchase journey. Although the mobile Web is used extensively, only 13 percent of tablet shoppers use a mobile app during the entire purchase journey.

Social media is also used fairly infrequently during the tablet purchase journey. While the consumer purchase journey is very social in nature, few of the influencers that lead to a purchase actually happen on social media platforms,. Instead, purchasers are influenced by fellow customer reviews and word of mouth reviews from purchasers’ friends and family.

Only 12 percent of buyers use social media during the tablet purchase journey.

Trustworthy opinions
Purchasers view reviews from other consumers to be more important rather than expert reviews. While reviews are one of the most influential resources during the buying process, consumer reviews are used much more commonly than expert reviews in each phase of the purchase journey and are more influential.

While mobile is definitely a factor in the purchasing process, once the journey reaches inside the store, shoppers are entirely interested in retail associates’ knowledge and other physical factors.

Smartphone users will continue to use their devices as a point of research and reference in the forms of contacting friends and family and mobile Web.

The best ways for retailers to make in-store sales in a mobile centric environment is to respond to these habits.

“Tablet shoppers are indeed quite commonly show-rooming when they are in physical retail stores browsing for tablets, and I believe this is a behavior that will only increase in the future,” Mr. Neal said. “Many retailers have already been adapting to this, such as Best Buy matching prices from any vetted or reputable online site for the same make and model if the shopper shows them the price on their smartphone while in the store.

“This has become part of retail sales associates’ training regimen, which is recognizing and effectively reacting to shoppers who are also looking up reviews of a given product on display in the store, doing price comparison look-ups to see if they can buy the same make and model elsewhere, texting friends and family for in-the-moment recommendations or feedback, etc.,” he said.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York