Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

The Use of Mobile Phones by Customers in Retail Stores: A Case of Poland

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

The Use of Mobile Phones by Customers in Retail Stores: A Case of Poland

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. Companies wishing to meet customers' needs should always take into account new technological solutions, which are increasingly used by consumers. One of these technologies, which has become increasingly advanced, is the cell phone, particularly the so-called smartphone. Mobile phones have become a useful tool for both retail stores and customers. Customers can quickly search in their cells for the price of the product offered on websites. These broad capabilities of cell phones have led to a new kind of competition for traditional stores. On the other hand retail stores can use cell phones in order to inform their customers about new promotions, events, etc. The main objective of this paper is to introduce the scale and the cause of the use of cell phones by customers in traditional retailing. The author has focused on cell phone utilization by customers while shopping. In the paper the survey results have been presented, which had been conducted among cell phone users in one medium-sized Polish city. The research results show that cell telephony while shopping has yet to reach the same level of popularity among Polish customers, which it has attained in other countries.

JEL Classification: O31, M30, M37

Keywords: mobile technology, innovation, mobile telephony; consumer research; mobile advertising.

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Introduction

The development of modern technology has created new opportunities for the retail sector. One of these technologies which has developed considerably is the mobile phone.

In the past, mobile phones were used only for communication among people. Currently there are advanced devices for users with not only a phone function but also with other applications which allow users to access sources of information (Internet, radio, e- book), sources of entertainment (games, music), calendar, etc. Increasingly, it is also a tool for business transactions, so-called: m-commerce. The popularity of mobile phones around the world, as well as their more modern functions, is a challenge for many companies in the field of customer service. A phone became a tool used in both traditional and electronic retailing. According to the report "The I Factor. How consumer demand is driving retail innovation" (the Economist, 2012) by 2020, trade with the use of mobile devices will be dominated either by offering a Near Field Communication and by the use of geographic positioning.

Although the use of mobile phones in the shopping process is increasing, there is no research focused on this subject in Poland. The only research which was undertaken covers the general aspects of using mobile phones.

The main aim of the article is to answer the question: Why and to what extent do retail customers use mobile phones in traditional retailing? Do the extent of mobile phones' application depend on age and gender? Why should retail stores implement this kind of solution in the field of customer service? In order to answer the question the author decided to conduct a survey among a group of mobile phone users in one medium-sized city in Poland. The survey was carried out between August and October 2012. The research conducted by the author shows that the use of mobile phones by the Polish respondents in traditional retailing has not taken off to the same extent as it has in the US and Western European countries. The most popular way of utilizing mobile phone in-store is a phone call to a close friend in order to obtain advice. The study shows that surveyed men more often than women search the Internet by mobile phones for the features of the product while shopping. According to the research, men will be also more likely than women to utilize mobile phone in-store in the future.

The paper is organized as follows. The first section presents the theoretical framework of the literature review and the background of mobile phone use in retail stores. The second section introduces the research methodology and survey results. …

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