Retailers have a vision of the consumer as constantly clutching their smartphone. Emerging in-store strategy is being developed with those mobile devices in mind, and for good reason: One recent survey found that mobile devices influenced as much as $1 trillion in in-store sales in 2015.
But in reality, the way smartphones influence sales is still being understood. A new survey of online buyers suggests that mobile device may be slightly understood. According to Bizrate Insights, a whopping 73 percent of shoppers in the United States and Canada use their smartphones to shop.
But only 21 percent use these devices when they’re actually inside a physical store. That prompts a natural question: How are devices influencing store sales when they aren’t being used inside the store?
The answer might have something to do with how a brick-and-mortar store can extend beyond its physical limitations.
A Broader Vision Of The In-Store Experience
While mobile devices may be less frequently used within the confines of a store, the research suggests that retailers shouldn’t discount the value of a mobile experience. Instead, they should reconsider where that in-store experience starts and ends.
BizRate notes, for example, that many shoppers start the in-store experience while still at home. Thirty-nine percent use their mobile devices to check inventories at the location they are visiting. In that way, consumers are starting that process of shopping in-store before they arrive. The quality of that experience, meanwhile, can contribute to the likelihood that they will eventually make a purchase.
Retailers might also consider their own role in mobile activity within stores. As retailers work to create an in-store experience that integrates mobile technology with the physical world, they’re also creating more incentive for shoppers to use their screens when shopping.
Some brands are far ahead of others in this regard. When a strong Wi-Fi signal, a worthwhile retail app, and/or other mobile integrations are implace, consumers have more reason to use their phones as a supplementary tool. Other tasks, such as checking inventories and research product information, can be done from home, away from the store. A strong mobile infrastructure will prompt this activity to occur within a physical store, which retailers can then leverage to deliver a better experience.
Phone usage may not be as frequent within stores as previously thought, but all it means is retailers need to get a better grasp on how consumers pursue in-store sales. Digital technologies are breaking down walls, and bringing the in-store experience into the home.
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