Over the past decade, smartphones have given consumers more options for how, where and when they shop. In the last two years in particular, as the global COVID-19 pandemic has forced innovation upon all retailers, digital has emerged as the great equalizer in improving shopper satisfaction.
While many purchases are now made entirely from mobile devices, shoppers are also incorporating mobile usage while in stores, according to The 2022 Global Digital Shopping Index.
This article will address some of the findings and recommendations from that report, which examines the behaviors of 13K consumers and 3.1K merchants across the globe, to help retailers better understand how they can keep up with—and improve upon—current mobile shopping trends.
How consumers are using mobile in-store
Shoppers' days of asking in-store sales associates for help could soon be a thing of the past. When brick-and-mortar customers have a question about the products they want to purchase, many now simply reach for their smartphones.
This type of "smartphone-assisted" shopping is growing more common: More than one-third of brick-and-mortar shoppers (19% more than last year) used their smartphones when shopping in stores in 2021, chiefly to ensure they were getting the best deal by comparing prices offered by other merchants and searching for coupons, special offers, and other discounts1. Consumers also used their smartphones to:
- look up product reviews online
- access loyalty programs
- check inventory
- locate items in the store
According to the study, mobile-assisted shoppers find brick-and-mortar purchases 49% less friction-laden than non-mobile assisted shoppers2.
Retailers rising to the challenge
Because of these impressive gains, many retailers have prioritized their digital offerings. Over the last year, we saw remarkable improvement in how merchants have embraced digital by adding the features that consumers now expect as part of their shopping experience.
These innovative merchants understand that consumers no longer think of their shopping experience as physical or digital, omni- or multichannel; it's all just shopping. The merchants with the highest satisfaction scores ignore the bright lines that used to define when and how consumers shopped, instead prioritizing the features that help with customer acquisition and conversion.
Mobile convenience at the cost of customer support
While merchants have risen to the challenge of providing customer-facing digital initiatives, these improvements have come at the cost of post-sales customer support. In 2021, merchants spent less time ensuring a positive post-sales experience3.
There are two types of features that merchants offered less in 2021 than in 20204:
- Protecting consumers' online identities: 32% fewer merchants supported "protect me" features, with resolving disputes and guaranteed refunds for fraudulent charges seeing dramatic drops
- Helping consumers more easily research, obtain, and review their purchase: 13% fewer offered these "make it easy for me" features
These features are key to inspiring consumers' trust and making them feel protected from potential fraud, theft, or money loss due to service errors, but fewer merchants are offering them than they did in the past.
Merchants must do more
The seamless cross-channel shopping experiences that mobile devices create are redefining what consumers want — and expect — brick-and-mortar merchants to deliver. Merchants worldwide have done a good job streamlining the cross-channel journey, but in doing so, they have lost sight of features that enhance shoppers' post-purchase experience. Features that are known to promote customer loyalty and trust have grown less common as a result 5.
Succeeding in this new digital world means finding a payments partner that can help retailers support a full range of mobile-enabled shopping features without overlooking post-sales support to create a shopping experience that is positive throughout the entire process.
1. The 2022 Global Shopping Index: The Digital Transformation of Retail and the Consumer Shopping Experience, p. 5
2. The 2022 Global Shopping Index: The Digital Transformation of Retail and the Consumer Shopping Experience, p. 4
3. The 2022 Global Shopping Index: The Digital Transformation of Retail and the Consumer Shopping Experience, p. 2
4. The 2022 Global Shopping Index: The Digital Transformation of Retail and the Consumer Shopping Experience, p. 4
5. The 2022 Global Shopping Index: The Digital Transformation of Retail and the Consumer Shopping Experience, p. 2