How Smartphones and Tablets Really Impact Retailers

Mobile payments, mobile marketing, mobile sales — retailers are almost as excited as their users are when it comes to the latest and greatest tablet or smartphone. But it’s not all positive news for brick-and-mortar stores, with headlines of “Retailers: Evolve or Die” and “Showrooming Takes Over.” What’s the deal? Should stores worry about how their tech-savvy customers shop (or don’t)? How do mobile devices influence customer behavior?

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Anywhere, Everywhere

There may be debate on how to handle mobile retail, but no one’s denying its significance. Almost two thirds of all Americans, 65%, own a smartphone. That makes them more common than game consoles or digital cable – and additionally, Americans spend more time on their smartphones than on their PCs. However retailers adapt to mobile, they can’t ignore its presence.

Mobile Money

66% of retailers are interested in using mobile POS services like Square — but only 42% are either offering mobile POS programs or planning trials. The gap between consumers and retailers “on mobile” is significant, and retailers looking to create a seamless buying experience should look into turning this pain point into an opportunity for cross-selling and upselling via mobile POS.

Seamless Shopping

In 2013, American retailers got half the holiday foot traffic of three years prior. That sounds dire, but not only did 2013 holiday sales statistics meet expectations, they rose 2.7%. 2014 holiday sales grew even more. And the uptick in mobile usage didn’t just turn into showrooming and Amazon.com purchases — it was estimated to influence upwards of 50% of retail store sales. This indicates that not only are customers still shopping in stores, but in fact retailers’ mobile integrations are key to increasing how much shoppers spend while in brick-and-mortar locations.

Smart Customers

Ready for a surprising fact? 22% of Americans 18 and older say their mobile device usage makes them shop in stores more often. That’s almost a fourth of the adult population – and of that same market audience, 70% regularly use a smartphone or tablet. Additionally, customers using mobile devices convert at a 40% higher rate. That doesn’t sound like “Showrooming Takes Over” — that sounds like a growing market segment showing strong sales.

So the facts say that yes, customers are using mobile devices more than ever — but that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it opens new doors for brick-and-mortar retailers and can even help raise conversion rates. The key is making sure retailers understand their customers and how they experience their stores — and ensuring that every store takes advantage of the seamless shopping consumers have grown to expect.

 

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