About 57% of more than 1,000 consumers surveyed by Yes Marketing said they have used a retailer's mobile app while in-store, often to redeem or find coupons or discover items on sale, according to a press release highlighting the survey results.
The study also found that just 33% of survey respondents said they prefer to make purchases on mobile smartphones, and 49% said that buying via tablet and desktop offer a more frictionless experience.
Regarding communications between retailers and their customers, only 37% of those surveyed said communications they receive from retailers are adequately personalized, and almost a third said they have received communications from retailers that recommended products they already had purchased, the study said.
The report based on this survey, titled "Surviving the Retail Apocalypse," doesn't offer any really mind-blowing numbers — nothing that wasn't already known or suspected — but it does offer a pretty comprehensive picture of how shopper behaviors are changing, and what retailers may need to do in response.
For example, the notion that a growing majority of consumers use smartphones in-store is not a new observation, but this data suggests we have reached a tipping point where the majority of store visitors are supplementing their experience with mobile. The stat reinforces what retailers should already be doing to make sure they don't inhibit in-store mobile usage.
Retailers with a large brick-and-mortar presence may prefer shoppers buy in-store, so they might also be comfortable with the understanding that a majority of customers use their phones in-store. But just one-third of their customers prefer to complete purchases through smartphones. To look at that finding another way, perhaps retailers are not doing enough with their mobile strategies to make customers to use their apps for more than in-store coupon access.
The survey found that 49% of those who preferred buying online via tablet or desktop said it was easier to comparison shop on desktop versus smartphones. Others said they believed that their information was more secure on desktop sites, that those sites included more product information, and that mobile sites were just too hard to read. To the extent that cross-channel is happening, retailers may feel like they don't need to address any of this, but these are issues that they can address by rethinking their mobile strategies and priorities to create more valuable apps.
There is a similar take-away to be had on the topic of communicating with customers. Almost half of those surveyed said they prefer email communication, but a lot of marketing emails remain unopened. Also, a 2017 ReturnPath study found that at least 20% of marketing emails never reached their intended destination. According to Yes Marketing's survey, 50% of consumers who ignored emails from brands said they did so because those emails contained irrelevant product recommendations. Other studies have noted that shoppers appear to be reading email on mobile devices, but also that many marketing emails aren't designed for mobile viewing.
Again, retailers may be happy that consumers still pick email as a preferred method of communication, but they also may be able to do better by rethinking their current approaches. For example, a Lululemon email marketing campaign last year reportedly succeeded by tailoring subject lines and messages for viewing via mobile devices. That was probably a solution that didn't cost that retailer a lot of money and time — just a bit more attention to the details of what shoppers were or weren't doing, and why, plus the decisiveness to act.