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Mobile is central for 83pc of consumers' shopping habits: report

As the holiday season approaches, it is time for retailers to begin thinking about how to bring mobile into the end-of-the-year shopping period, especially now that a new survey has shown 83 percent of consumers consider mobile central to their shopping habits.

The report from Euclid Analytics surveyed a large number of consumers to determine their shopping habits and found that mobile will be a key area for brands to focus on. As mobile becomes more ubiquitous, this number is likely to go up and retailers will have to respond in turn.

?A smartphone is the holiday shopper?s wingman," said Brent Franson, CEO of Euclid Analytics. "This holiday season, expect to see most in-store shoppers with phones firmly in hand - in fact, 41 percent of people spend 50 percent of their time in a store on their phones. 

"They?re comparing prices, checking other apps (Facebook, Google and Amazon are the top three), looking at email promotions, referencing to-do lists, and taking pictures of merchandise for later. To compete, retailers must radically step up their mobile game.?

Holiday season
Holiday seasons are routinely the busiest time of the year for shoppers and retailers alike. This year is no different, and in fact might turn out to be even busier than any year before.

Euclid cites a prediction from Deloitte that this year will see holiday sales jumping up by up to four percent over last year.

With that jump in sales already on top of the busiest time of year, it is more important than ever for retailers to get a handle on how their customers shop and how they are planning on approaching the big end-of-the-year shopping season.

To do this, Euclid surveyed more than 1,500 consumers about how they shop and what role technology plays in their process.

The results were that mobile is an overwhelmingly vital force in the modern shopping experience. Eighty-three percent of consumers indicated that smartphones were central to their shopping experience.

?For retailers, the message is you have to give in order to get. Four out of five shoppers are using smartphones in stores - so capitalize on that attention as they shop," Mr. Franson said. "Give coupons, freebies, maps of your store layout, inventory count for products, even personalized recommendations and in return, it?s much more likely you?ll get those holiday shoppers to purchase. 

"But even early on, retailers should take advantage of Facebook to increase consumer awareness of their offerings. Our research shows that next to family and friends, the social media platform is the most popular way to discover cool new products.?

Bridge the gap
But while mobile is immensely popular, that has not prevented 67 percent of shoppers from continuing to go into physical stores to try and on and see products in person before they purchase them.

These two figures are not contradictory, as mobile has increasingly been used as more than just a commerce tool but also as a companion to the brick-and-mortar shopping experience in which consumers regularly research, compare and look for deals on products before they purchase.

Additionally, the report found that social media was a popular feature for consumers to use to find new products and get inspiration while shopping.

Facebook, among the top three mobile applications used by consumers while shopping, was relied upon by 37 percent of consumers to find new products.

The other two most used applications were Google and Amazon, suggesting the popularity of searching for products and comparing prices to the popular online retailers such as Amazon.

In this way, mobile serves as the bridge between online ordering and in-store shopping, helping consumers navigate the lines between them and make the smartest and most cost-effective decisions.

If retailers want to capture their audience?s attention this holiday season, the key will be not in rejecting the bridge between online and offline shopping, but embracing it and making it easier for consumers to use their mobile devices to discern what and how to buy. 

?The attention of holiday shoppers is very much divided - between what you?re offering them in your store and what their smartphones can do for them," Mr. Franson said. "But physical retail still has a bit of a secret weapon. Two out of three shoppers like the in-store experience because they can ?kick the tires? before they buy. 

"That?s a big selling point - so make sure you?re offering an extraordinary experience in your space. Second, you can win back some of your customers? mobile focus by offering deals, loyalty program information, and inventory count as they shop in store.?