Getting Smart with Smart Phones
Motley, L. Biff, ABA Bank Marketing
IT'S ALWAYS INTERESTING to pick over recently published consumer behavior stats to glean insights into emerging trends influencing customer satisfaction. Here are a couple worth noting and perhaps connecting the dots.
First, Internet banking has now surpassed branch banking as the preferred method of transactional banking for all age groups. As published in the ABA Banking Journal (November 2010), 36 percent now prefer Internet banking over banking though other channels: 25 percent prefer branches; 15 percent ATMs; 8 percent mail; 6 percent phone; 4 percent mobile.
Second, during 2010 there was a 50-fold increase in the use of smart phones to visit retail websites to comparison shop. On the Friday after Thanksgiving in 2009, consumers using smart phones to shop retails sites accounted for just 0.1 percent of store website visits. Last year on this same day, these visits grew to 5.6 percent. While the absolute numbers are still small, the trend is clear. People are using these devices to aid in their search for better deals. This technology, aided by easily downloadable mobile shopping apps such as TheFind (www.thefind.com), enables consumers to defeat retailers' loss leader strategies, where consumers are lured in to buy low-cost advertised specials but end up buying shopping baskets full of higher margin goods as well.
Now, armed with smart phones and price-shopping apps, savvy consumers are checking the prices of electronic items at Amazon.com while walking the aisles at Best Buy. If the price differential is large, they click on the Amazon offer and walk out empty handed.
Retail consulting firm Kurt Salmon Associates suggests that these smart devices could grow into a game changer, as only one or two retailers can survive as the low price leader in any category. …