The Hidden Influence of Mobile at Retail

by Net Future Institute on March 21, 2013

Research continues to mount painting a sharpening picture of the evolving role of mobile in the shopping process and it appears that much of the actual mobile commerce being conducted is not being seen by the retailer.

We know from the Siteworx study this week that mobile shoppers prefer retailer websites over apps.

However, the role of product research via mobile also was highlighted in the report, with checking product reviews being the top mobile driver in encouraging a purchase. Much of this research is not done in the store.

A new study by UK-based Redshift Research also found that almost half (46%) use their mobile device to review products before purchasing, double from the previous year.

This insight adds to an earlier study by Adobe showing that retailer websites receive the highest share of tablet traffic across all industries, indicating that consumers check sites (and likely competing sites) before an actual store visit.

The point is that the mobile purchase decision activity is started well before the consumer heads to the store. This means retailers must approach mobile holistically, not only as an in-store activity.

This is not to suggest that all the purchasing decisions are made before the store visit, since mobile has an impact there as well. One study of 15,000 mobile users across 14 markets around the world by InMobi found that almost half (45%) of consumers had an in-store purchase influenced by mobile.

And purchases also are still being made on smartphones, with more than half (59%) already having made at least one purchase this year, based on the Redshift Research study.

The Siteworx research was somewhat consistent with that, finding a majority (52%) making at least one smartphone purchase in a one-month period, with the other half making more than one purchase. That study also found that tablets were the mobile purchase device of choice over smartphones, and tablet buyers tend to purchase more often, which is consistent with other studies.

No matter how you slice it, mobile is becoming the great influencer of sales.

  Chuck Martin is editor of mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk. He is author of “The Third Screen,” “The Smartphone Handbook,” and the soon-to-be-published “Mobile Influence.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute and a frequent mobile keynote speaker around the globe.

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