What’s Holding Mobile Shopping Back? Let Me Count the Ways

by Net Future Institute on July 2, 2014

By Chuck Martin

Mobile shopping behavior is evolving.

As I wrote about yesterday (Why People Don’t Use Smartphones to Shop), the top reasons people don’t use their phones to shop are screen size (41%), security issues (39%), don’t have a smartphone (20%), don’t have a data plan (16%) or have a slow connection (13%).

The findings were from a PwC global study with 15,000 respondents in 15 territories.

But based on a number of notes I received, I have to wonder if some of the issues go well beyond that.

For example, demographics may play a role, as one person suggested “small screens, bad eyes and big thumbs” as factors holding him back.

Another aspect we’ve frequently written about is the role of the smartphone in the total shopping experience and not just the transactions, the common measurement metric.

In the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle, consumers no longer go shopping, they always are shopping.

One reader suggested that the smartphone is very good to research and find the best options to buy but terrible to navigate for what you’re looking for. In cases like these, the phone may not be credited with the actual sale though it could have been intimately involved in the purchase process and decision.

As in the PwC study, where having a slow connected was a drawback for 13% of those surveyed, several readers said that is exactly what holds them back.

You likely have been in a store where there was either no Wi-Fi or a poor carrier connection.

This can make checking and comparing prices, which studies consistently show shoppers want to do, a tedious process, at best. In such situations, shoppers may want to use their smartphone as a shopping assistant, but just can’t.

The bigger issue may be the impact on retailers, whether or not they see it.

For example, one reader noted that rather than try to find a sales associate, he uses his code reader, which has notified him that he could save 30% at another store. He then can order from that store while in the first store and pick up the item on the way home. Showrooming at its best.

Part of the reason for non-smartphone shopping also could simply be the learning curve.

Starting on a new smartphone can be bewildering for a person moving from a feature phone, as some of you may have experienced from your very fist smartphone acquisition.

As smartphone users start to do more with their devices, shopping is likely to move much more front and center.

Not necessarily the buy. The shop.



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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