Mobile Shopping: Emerging Trends

The use of mobile phones in retail is increasing dramatically, according to a survey released at the National Retail Federation’s Annual Convention & Expo in New York City. The study, conducted by ForeSee Results and entitled “Explosion in Mobile Retail Provides Huge Opportunity for Retailers,” found that shoppers are using mobile phones to access websites and apps more than ever before. The results indicate that “any retailer who is not wholeheartedly embracing the mobile trend is leaving money on the table for competitors, “said Kevin Ertell, VP retail strategy, ForeSee Results.

In the study, 33% of all respondents indicated that they had accessed a retailer’s website using a mobile phone (compared with 24% in 2009) and an additional 26% indicate that they plan to use their mobile phone to visit a company’s website, mobile website, or mobile application in the future.

“In other words, more than half of all online shoppers are either already using or plan to use their phones for retail purpose,” Ertell said. “This finding indicates a huge opportunity for retailers with sophisticated, user-centric mobile sites and apps.”

Other key findings include:

Mobile purchase behavior is exploding. A total of 11% of web shoppers reported having made a purchase from their phones this holiday season, compared with only 2% at this time last year.

Shoppers use their phones for a variety of tasks. The majority of shoppers who used their phones did so to compare price information (56%). Shoppers also used their phones to compare different products (46%), to look up product specifications (35%), and to view product reviews (27%).

Shoppers use their phones to look at competitor websites. While in physical stores, more than two-thirds of mobile shoppers (69%) used their phones to visit the store’s own website, but nearly half (46%) also used their phones to access a competitor’s website.

Traditional websites satisfy shoppers more than mobile sites and apps. In general, shoppers rate their satisfaction with retail websites significantly higher (78 on the study’s 100-point scale) than their satisfaction with mobile experiences (apps and sites) (75).

Good experiences with mobile sites and apps have critical cross-channel impact. Shoppers who are highly satisfied with a mobile experience say they are 30% more likely to buy from that retailer online and 30% more likely to buy offline, as well as being far more likely to return to the main website, recommend it, and be loyal to the brand.

According to ForeSee’s Ertell, the impact of mobile customer satisfaction on a retailer’s multichannel business is clear.

“The data show that a satisfied shopper is far more likely to purchase (online and offline), remain loyal, and engage in positive word-of-mouth recommendations than is a dissatisfied mobile shopper,” he said.

The survey noted that applications and websites tailored to mobile shoppers are a must-have for retailers. As smart phone use increases, more customers will turn to the mobile channel to find price and product information before making a purchase.

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Chart by ForeSee Results