Shoppers use Smartphones to Study, Find, and Buy

1 Dec


By Colby E. Ware for USA TODAY

Mobile phones are now commonplace anywhere: the office, the home, in the car, and of course while shopping. With the increased capabilities that Smartphones offer it’s only natural that they are now doing the heavy-lifting for shoppers when it comes to doing their homework. Phones help shoppers find coupons, store locations and even discover nearby restaurants.

2009 will go down as the first holiday season that retailers are (finally) trying to capitalize on the still niche, but quickly expanding, market of mobile shoppers.

According to a Deloitte survey, about 20% of Americans will use their mobile devices for shopping during the 2009 holiday season. As is to be expected, the percentage is twice as high for young consumers (18-29). Young Shoppers say they’ll use their phones to find store locations, receive coupons and information for sales and to research products and prices.

Now for the most exciting statistic: One-quarter of all who plan to use their phones to shop say they will make purchases on the devices.

Given, the mobile shopping market is still relatively small, even if the sales numbers look impressive at $750 million. But looking at the bigger picture this represents about half of 1% of all online sales.

The trade publication Internet Retailer reported month that 112 retailers have “m-commerce” sites or apps.

Here are a few big boys joining the fun: Toys R Us, Walgreens, American Eagle, Best Buy and  Victoria’s Secret recently added mobile sites. Sears and Kmart were one of the first major U.S. retailers to offer a mobile site, last year.

THE ANTI-BLACK FRIDAY


Given the crazies out on Black Friday, the ability to use a mobile device from your couch, bed or kitchen to do price comparisons, check product availability and simply look for other bargains can be invaluable.

How Black Friday Works: Stores offer “door-buster” deals to entice people to come in, knowing they’ll buy more once inside the store. Many such discounts are advertised in advance, letting shoppers do price comparisons from home. But many deals aren’t promoted ahead of time, and other products that aren’t deals are strategically placed around stores.

Here’s where the Smartphone comes in: Consumers now browse the Web from the sales floor for product and price comparisons can save time and money. According to Nita Rollins, a futurist with the digital marketing agency Resource Interactive, “the majority of American consumers will be mobile device-centric in a few years. Now that it’s technologically feasible, possessing such power literally in the palm of our hands is quite irresistible.”

M-COMMERCE EXAMPLES


  • Best Buy has had a mobile site since June 2009, however it did not became fully functioning for purchases until the end of September. Michele Azar, Best Buy’s vice president of emerging channels, says even though the retailer thought it important for customers to be able to buy easily on their devices, she says that wasn’t the driving force behind the move to mobile.
  • Toys R Us added a mobile site right before the Black Friday craziness. Greg Ahearn, senior vice president of marketing and e-commerce, says it’s designed so consumers can quickly find stores, get “mom ratings” and product descriptions, and make purchases.

“Mobile technology use is growing among all age ranges,” says Ahearn. ” Some youngsters have their own phones and are looking things up, showing them to Mom and Dad and putting the items on their holiday wish lists.”

  • EBay’s mobile website attracts 1 million visitors a day. They  expects its mobile commerce – which includes a new iPhone deals app – to quadruple in 2010, and says it will have $500 million in revenue in 2009.

“It’s quite possible more people this year will use mobile commerce through eBay and avoid the stores altogether,” says Steve Yankovich, eBay’s vice president of business solutions and mobile.

USING MOBILE TO HELP TEENS AND MOMS SHOP

According to a Resource Interactive study mothers remain the “chief purchasing officers,” and children are the “chief influencing officers.” Teens are using the Internet and their mobile devices influence the brands and products their families bought.

A Mom’s perspective after conducting a purchase via a Smartphone: “I still have much greater comfort level with my PC, but if I came to find (buying) was quick and efficient on my phone, I most definitely would do that – I’m on the road a lot.”

To facilitate the way young shoppers use their phones as tools of influence, Resource Interactive developed a prototype app that would allow teens to e-mail their parents photos from retail websites and get theirs and others’ opinions. If the parents approved, at the click of a button they could authorize the teens to buy the product using an alternative payment site such as BillMyParents.com.

THE FUTURE OF MOBILE COMMERCE?


Is Mobile the future of eCommerce? No not yet but we should definitely start talking about mCommerce, as people never have their cell phone more than 1 foot away from them, so it’s only logical that the combination of more power, faster internet, and more tech-savyness are leading to the rise of “mCommerce.”

Posted via web from Eric’s online marketing blog

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