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75pc of consumers access smartphones in-store: Forrester

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NEW YORK – A Forrester Research analyst at the Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2013 conference said that three-quarters of consumers surveyed use their smartphones while in-store.

During the “Understanding the Mobile Commerce Opportunity” session, the analyst discussed the importance of developing a solid mobile strategy for marketers, even though mobile commerce is relatively new. Also, brands should tailor their mobile experiences to whichever device a consumer is using and where that consumer is at on their purchase journey.

“Think of how much you can help your customers, think about how you’re going to add value and add creativity through mobile,” said Julie Ask, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, San Francisco.

“Mobile is another touch point and an expectation that customers have of brands,” she said.

“That demand [for a mobile presence] will increase in the next couple of years.”

The data presented during this session is from Forrester’s 2013 Mobile Trends for Marketers report.

Smartphone versus tablets
In the future, tablet commerce will outpace mobile commerce. However, comparing the two is irrelevant since consumers use them in different ways.

Consumers mostly use tablets at home, while smartphones are used everywhere.

Tablets are most often used in the living room and the bedroom. Seventy-two percent of consumers use tablets in the living room and 63 percent use them in the bedroom.

Only 8 percent of consumers use tablets in-store.

The breakdown for smartphones is different since they are used in all kinds of locations.

More than half of consumers said they use their smartphone in various locations including in stores, outdoors, in the living room, in the bedroom, in the kitchen, in the car, while traveling, on public transit, in restaurants, at a friend’s house and at work.

Globally, the use of mobile phones has exploded. There are approximately 6 billion mobile subscriptions with a total of 7 billion people on Earth.

Marketers should realize the difference between the two and realize consumers' needs will depend on which device they are using.

“The biggest difference between the phone and the tablet is where I connect and how I connect,” Ms. Ask said.

“Tablets do not fit in my pocket and go everywhere,” she said. “The larger the size of a device, the larger a task someone will do.”

“The tablet is not a mobile device, it is a lean-back device.”

Ms. Ask at the Mcommerce Summit

For smartphones, consumers are looking for a convenient, simple way to complete a task. Marketers should keep this in mind when developing a mobile strategy.

“The phone is task-oriented and is about getting something done,” Ms. Ask said.

“One of the things that we always say about mobile is that it has to be simple enough,” she said.

However, the tasks and the needs of consumers are changing. Marketers should keep up to not frustrate consumers who want to complete a task.

“My needs change based on my context,” Ms. Ask said. “So the service and content should change based on what my needs are.

“Consumers do not want to wade through the depths of a home screen,” she said.

Looking to the future
Currently mobile commerce represents 2 percent of online commerce, which is approximately 10 percent of total retail commerce.

However, mobile is expected to become a bigger factor in the future, especially in retail.

“What we will really see [in the future] is centered on that in-store experience and how mobile enhances that,” Ms. Ask said.

“Your store associates need to be as smart as the consumers who are coming into the store," she said.

“Mobile devices keep associates on the floor for more hours, and it helps [associates with] consumer-facing tasks and back-room tasks.”

Some luxury retailers are looking to enhance their in-store experiences with mobile.

For instance, department store Barneys New York gives in-store shoppers a more personalized checkout experience through a partnership with Infinite Peripherals that equips sales associates with mobile point-of-sale devices at its flagship location (see story).

Also, Italian label Gucci turned to mobile to enhance its in-store shopping experience with an app that aims to provide a higher level of service for luxury consumers via employee-handled wireless devices.

The fashion house is equipping its store associates at select locations with Apple iPhone 4S devices that contain a mobile point-of-sale program that lets employees process sales, email receipts to customers, access the Gucci Style app and use a translator and currency converter on the spot (see story).

In addition, mobile should also help consumers easily take initiatives in purchasing.

“Mobile augmented reality can help consumers make the right decisions for them,” Ms. Ask said. “This helps consumers make the best decisions in real time.”

Overall, marketers should look to boost their mobile offerings to engage their consumers and stay ahead of competitors as mobile uses change over time.

“Mobile platforms will serve as the catalyst for the next generation of connected experiences,” Ms. Ask said.

Final take
Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New  York

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Erin Shea is an editorial assistant on Luxury Daily. Her beats are automotive, consumer electronics, consumer packaged goods, financial services, media/publishing, software and technology, telecommunications, travel and hospitality, real estate, retail and sports. Reach her at erin@napean.com.

Related content: Commerce, mobile, mobile marketing, marketing, Mcommerce Summit, Forrester, Julie Ask, Commerce

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Comments on "75pc of consumers access smartphones in-store: Forrester"

  1. Mike Jacobs says:

    May 3, 2013 at 8:19pm

    Mobile is definitely the future of marketing for companies and in my opinion location based marketing will lead the charge. I feel like mobile marketing in malls/high traffic location based areas hits the consumer when he/she is ready to spend money. At other times, such as at home or work the ad may be dismissed as spam. However, at the mall, the consumer is most vulnerable and seeking the best deal around so he/she will be more tempted to look at ads especially when they receive a coupon. Mobiquity Networks seems to be leading the charge in the mall department around the US based on the size of their network. Any other opinions on mobile marketing or do you agree with my perception?
  2. Charles Nicholls says:

    May 3, 2013 at 1:07pm

    I agree completely with the article in that tablets and mobiles show fundamentally different patterns of use.
    However, I suspect that the gremlins have got into the copy somewhere, because this data is off. We’ve just analyzed more than 21 million commerce transactions from more than 2,500 ecommerce merchants, and our data says the world looks different:
    “In the future, tablet commerce will outpace mobile commerce” – Really? Our data says Tablet commerce is 3x bigger than that on smartphones.
    “Currently mobile commerce represents 2 percent of online commerce” – Really? – try 10% - 12% on for size and you’re in the right ball park.
    This may be down to a difference in methodology: Forrester analyzes survey data (what people say they do); We were analyzing transactions (what they actually do). Both have their place and merit.
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