By Savannah McClelland
In case your company has not seriously considered the implications of mobile advertising and presence, a recent study conducted by Google suggests that frequent “smartphone shoppers” statistically purchase significantly more than their counterparts; more to the point, that more individuals are using their smartphones as part of the buying experience than was previously thought.
Retailers everywhere are aware of the “showrooming” phenomenon—consumers using brick-and-mortar businesses as a way to test out products that they will later go on to buy online. However, the report from Google suggests that this is not the only way in which shoppers use their phones in-store. The report was based on consumer surveys as well as on behavioral analytics; it found that 79% of the smartphone user population were what was termed “smartphone shoppers,” and used their devices as virtual shopping assistants as often as weekly or even more frequently. Primarily, the assistance comes in the form of pre-purchase research, obtaining product and store-related information.
Even more interesting, Google found that one-in-three individuals said that they turn to their devices for information in stores rather than asking employees. Additionally, the smartphone shoppers preferred using a store’s mobile site rather than a proprietary app; to some degree this makes sense. Unless the shopper has already installed the app on his or her phone, it would seem like an undue commitment to many to download an app for what might be a one-time transaction. However, accessing a mobile site requires no commitment from the shopper.
Perhaps the most profound finding of the study was that where smartphone shoppers are using their tech to do aggressive price-checking, those that used their smartphone the most frequently actually purchased a larger volume of products—and had higher average basket sizes as a result. For example, frequent smartphone shoppers had a 50% larger basket than standard smartphone shoppers in the category of health and beauty purchases; in electronics, the size increase was a smaller—but still respectable—34% larger among frequent smartphone users.
The results of Google’s study highlight the necessity for retailers to improve their mobile presence; while many companies large and small have been taking an experimental or halfhearted approach to mobile advertising—and even to their mobile sites—studies like Google’s show that the consumer target is increasingly on their phones—and if you as a company are not, they may go just as readily to your competitor who is.