The Goals of Mobile Shoppers vs. the Goals of Retailers

by Net Future Institute on July 2, 2014

By Chuck Martin

Retailers seek to drive mobile shoppers to their stores while those consumers have different ideas on how they want to use their smartphones once they get there.

U.S. consumers are using their phones for shopping at least sometimes in various locations, including at home (44%), in a store (32%) and at work (27%), based on a new study by RSR Research.

But what the phone is used for during the shopping process differs based on location.

While at home, most (60%) of shopping consumers use their phones to research product selection while most (57%) of those in stores use them to compare prices.

From the retailers’ perspective, fewer than half (47%) of them see mobile as influencing consumer purchases more than half the time but within three years most (75%) think it will.

The current primary goal of retailers is to drive sales to the store, based on the RSR study. The goal of retailer’s mobile strategies:

49% — Drive sales to the store
41% — Provide a new selling channel for existing brand
39% — Empower our employees to meet customer service expectations
35% — Help our employees to be more efficient
34% — Provide rich content and community input to help consumers choose our brand
30% — Give consumers the ability to match our products/prices to competitors’
30% — Enable our decision makers with better, more timely information
21% — Provide a channel for post sales, self-service support

The majority of retailers (56%) say they know consumers are using mobile as part of their shopping experience so feel a need to be there. However, those merchants also see a host of challenges relating to their mobile strategy.

41% — Difficulty coordinating with other channels
33% — Seeing significant online traffic from mobile sources
31% — Understanding and accommodating how different segments engage with us
28% — Consumer privacy concerns
25% — Don’t know what customer perceives as valuable
20% — Difficulty differentiating from the competition
13% — Mobile price comparison at the shelf is hurting our business
13% — Confusion about what makes a successful strategy

The top mobile strategy goal of merchants is to drive customers to stores while the top desire of mobile shoppers once there is to use their phones to compare prices.

Highlighting one of the mobile shopper-retailer gaps, fewer than a third of retailers see giving consumers that price matching ability as a strategic imperative.

Fine tuning the mobile shopping experience in stores still has a ways to go.



Chuck Martin is Editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute. Chuck Martin is a frequent Mobile Keynote Speaker and Mobile Marketing Speaker internationally. He also addresses Social Media in Mobile.


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