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

(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. The survey results were divided into five thematic areas, such as: utilization of mobile phones in-store, barcodes and QR codes scanning by mobile phone in a retail store, payments via mobile phones, mobile advertising and future use of mobile phones in-store. The final part of the paper presents the conclusion.

Literature review and the background of mobile phone use in the retail stores

The development of mobile telephony was quite rapid in the late 90s. Nowadays, mobile phones are not only a tool for communicating with another person but are mainly multi-functional devices to enable both entertainment and work. A breakthrough in the use of mobile phones for purposes other than voice communication came in 1996, when the Palm OS operating system was launched, which allowed the sending of e-mails on a cell phone. Later, in 2000, a new software was invented, "Pocket PC 2000" for Windows on Smart Phone, containing most of the features of the computer. Since then smart phones have experienced rapid growth. Companies started to see great opportunities for cell phones, especially smart phones, using them to enhance the work of warehouse staff, dealers and truck drivers.

New opportunities posed by mobile telephony were also noted by retailers. The use of mobile devices for retail stores is associated with so called mobile commerce (m-commerce). …

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