Enthusiasm for online shopping is waning, yet mobile devices are boosting in-store satisfaction, according to a survey released on Tuesday by mobile solutions firm DMI. Online shopping satisfaction has dropped by 5% and online shopping is down 4%. Meanwhile, in-store shopping frequency has remained unchanged, and satisfaction rates have increased by 7%. In all, some 77% of U.S. shoppers have used their smartphone in store to help them shop, the survey found.
One third of shoppers profiled have three or more mobile shopping applications on their devices and use their device "a lot" or "all day" and regularly use their device while shopping in stores. About 90% of these “mobile reliants" and a whopping 80% of the general population say apps designed to support in-store shopping improve the in-store shopping experience.
But there’s a significant gap between reality and customers' expectations, DMI says: Based on 240 possible points, this year's highest score was 131. Meanwhile, 74% of the general population and 88% of “mobile reliants" say the in-store mobile experience influences where they shop.
The mobile shopping arena is a complex environment: At first, retailers were told they needed mobile store applications, then it seemed consumers were shunning such native apps. Now, shoppers are leveraging their smartphones to shop inside the store.
That’s especially true for the category that DMI defines as “mobile reliants,” those who’ve made a purchase on mobile, use mobile every time they visit a store or at least regularly and those who have three or more mobile apps on their smartphones. Those shoppers account for one in three of U.S. shoppers, by DMI’s measure. In 2015, DMI found that one quarter of them purchased via mobile "very frequently" or "all the time.”
"2015 saw a dramatic shift in retailers' awareness of the potential to enhance the in-store experience for shoppers by leveraging their mobile devices. This year's survey reveals that retailers who are investing in an enhanced in-store shopping experience are heading in the right direction, but there is still a significant gap between the haves and the have-nots,” DMI founder and CEO Jay Sunny Bajaj said in a statement. “Those who provide a quality mobile experience will create the loyalty and market share so critical to retail success.”
Customers are open to using their phones in a variety of ways in stores. For example, many use mobile to see store-specific promotions, check their rewards balance, check prices and inventory, receive mobile alerts when items are ready (like a prescription, deli meats, eyeglasses or altered clothing) and for more seamless checkout.
Some retailers are doing better than others, DMI found. In order, the retailers with the best in-store mobile experience were: The Home Depot, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Walgreens, Sephora, Lowe’s, CVS, Bloomingdale’s, Walmart and Kohl’s. (Lowe’s, CVS, Macy’s and Kohl’s are new to the list, while Saks Fifth Avenue, J.C. Penney, Target and American Eagle fell out of the top 10 last year.)