In a physical store setting, mobile phones have taken a central role in the purchasing process. Consumers use their devices in much the same way a sales associate might offer assistance: Learning more about a product, getting a sense of its overall customer satisfaction, and figuring out whether or not the price is right.
According to a new survey, such activity is extremely common among the average consumer. Bazaarvoice found that 82 percent of all shoppers check their phones before making an in-store purchase, according to Internet Retailer.
Overall, 39 percent of in-store shoppers checked online reviews of a product before buying, and 36 percent visited the product’s page on a retail website to access expanded information. Online reviews were read at a slightly lower clip among in-store shoppers compared to online purchasers (54 percent).
But the most impressive statistic of all will encourage retailers of all stripes. Thirty-nine percent of in-store shoppers made a purchase at the store after using their phones to research products. That’s a significant increase from seven months earlier, when just 18 percent of consumers converted in-store.
According to those numbers, physical stores aren’t being compromised by the increased competition of online shopping options. Increasingly, retailers are finding that digital information, and mobile technology, can be a boon to brick-and-mortar sales.
Embracing Digital’s Influence
Bazaarvoice’s study highlighted several other trends that show just how influential mobile phones are proving within the physical retail space. It argues that for every dollar of online revenue influenced by online reviews, those reviews are affecting $5.21 of in-store revenue for camera sales.
Other tech products, including flat-screen TVs and video game consoles, saw similar influence.
The study found a wide range of product categories where online research on mobile phones was high, including 71 percent of shoppers researching fitness tracking products, and 70 percent looking up cookware reviews.
Retailers can take two broad lessons from the report’s insights. For one, the use of mobile devices should be supported within an in-store environment — retailers can use strong Wi-Fi signals and other mobile access features to make sure online research is easy to execute.
But retailers should also make sure mobile-optimized content is available to those consumers, giving brands an opportunity to help influence their shopping sentiments. When consumers are in-store, retailers should take every opportunity to build their presence on the mobile front, too.
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