In a survey last year, 71.6% of consumers said they shop via mobile smartphone at home, while traveling or during their spare time, and 60.1% said they used their smartphones in brick-and-mortar stores, according to iVend Retail’s 2018 Global Path to Purchase survey.
Furthermore, 54% of respondents said they chose to shop with retailers who sent them special offers via mobile while they were inside physical stores, although another 43% said they had never received such in-store mobile offers, the report stated.
Additionally, 91.4% of shoppers admitted to researching products online before making purchases at physical stores, 83.8% have done the opposite and more than half of respondents said they used buy online/pick up in-store services.
The evidence that consumers are shopping via mobile and using their mobile phones in-store has been piling up for a while now. It may also hint that retailers are not doing as much as they can to effectively connect with shoppers.
The iVend report shows that consumers using mobile in-store and consumers using their mobile phones to shop while away from stores are motivated by the same dominant factor — a need to research the best price. Among survey respondents, 38.3% said they consulted their phones in-store to search for the best price for a product, and likewise 38% of those shopping via mobile phone as a standalone experience said they did so to research the best price.
Those percentages should serve as major motivation for retailers to do what they can to reach out to both sets of shoppers with special offers, discounts and coupons. Particularly for those using mobile while shopping in-store, mobile offers could mean the difference between buying the product they are standing in front of while using their phones, or leaving the store empty-handed. The iVend report in fact suggested that most of those shoppers were interested in such offers because "they wanted offers the moment they are shopping."
That makes it all the more surprising to hear that more than 40% of shoppers surveyed said they have never received any such offers while using their phones in stores. There’s a big missed opportunity here for many retailers.
If they can make the connection, it may allow them to more confidently integrate mobile into the in-store experience in other ways. For example, 32.9% of those surveyed said they would like to see automatic payment via digital shopping carts in the future, which could suggest a high comfort level with the types of seamless mobile checkout options Amazon, Walmart, Kroger and others are pursuing.
Then, there’s also the notion that so many shoppers research online before buying in-store, but almost as many browse in-store before buying online. And, as we were reminded during the 2017 holiday shopping season, a great deal of online shopping traffic nowadays is often coming from mobile smartphones. More than ever, in-store, online and mobile appear to be interdependent shopping modes, and retailer strategies must reflect that.