Magazine article CRM Magazine

Smartphone Shopping Sprees on the Rise: Half of Americans Use Their Mobile Devices to Make Purchases, Study Shows

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Smartphone Shopping Sprees on the Rise: Half of Americans Use Their Mobile Devices to Make Purchases, Study Shows

Article excerpt

Shopping mall parking lots may be getting a bit less populated, according to "Marketing a Mobile Shopper," a study by Arc Worldwide, Leo Burnett's marketing services arm.

The research reveals that the traditional shopping journey is changing, with half of Americans using a mobile device for "shopping activities," which include comparing prices, ordering, and reading reviews. As a result, companies have been left with an ultimatum: "Deliver valuable mobile experiences or risk losing the customer."

Molly Garris, manager of digital strategy at Arc, says, "I think we knew that there were a lot of people doing some sort of mobile shopping activities, but what was more interesting to me was the huge group of people that is doing some sort of shopping activities that we really have the opportunity to influence."

The study divided mobile shoppers into two groups: heavy and light. Heavy shoppers were "forever attached to their mobile devices and loved experimenting with new apps." On the other hand, light shoppers view mobile devices as "inferior on-the-go versions of their computers." Because heavy shoppers make up only about 11 percent of all mobile phone owners, Garris encourages retailers to target light shoppers.

"I think there is an opportunity to reach some of these light mobile shoppers in a different way," she says. "It was exciting to see this big group of people and what activities they were doing so that we could start to plan some strategies around them."

Those strategies need to focus on "getting the basics right" for light shoppers, Garris says, highlighting the benefits to show how mobile shopping can save them time and money. "We found they are not as into the novelty and experimentation as the heavy mobile shoppers," she says.

For the light group, the most common shopping behavior was looking up store hours, addresses, and locations. However, many mobile sites are not equipped for that activity, Garris observes. "A lot of stores don't have a mobile site or don't have it optimized for searches, so those are really good opportunities to help reframe the perception of mobile as a shopping tool," she says.

While the study did not address privacy directly, Garris believes location-based apps were less likely to interest light mobile shoppers, who are hesitant to share information. …

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