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Mobile devices set to transform shopping

N1-in-10-Christmas-shoppers-use-smartphonesew research in the USA by Aprimo®, has discovered that one in five consumers is now “showrooming” – the practice of visiting retail stores to try products, but then checking a mobile device for the best price online.

Of those consumers already show rooming, 33% say they ultimately used the information to buy elsewhere. Although the survey only applies to Stateside shopping practices, not only is the trend is expected to continue growing with 96% of consumers saying they plan to use their smart phone to research prices the same way or more in the future but the trend is becoming far more noticeable in the UK as well.

“This research confirms what many in the retail industry have suspected: Show rooming is here to stay,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president and principal analyst for Forrester Research, who helped develop the survey questions and analyse results. “Retailers must seriously consider ways to avoid losing sales this way by using strategies such as price matching, personalised in-store service and loyalty programmes.”

In Aprimo’s analysis, this means that in order to preserve sales and sustain pricing levels, today’s physical-store retailers need to become more customer-centric, be less product/feature or price-point focused, and start leveraging technology solutions to engage the buyer through a more personalised in-store experience while empowering customer-driven choice.

Aprimo’s survey also found:

• The showrooming trend is just getting started, and it’s ready to explode – one third of those who have not used their smartphones for in-store research haven’t done so simply because the idea hadn’t yet occurred to them.

• Showrooming isn’t just for big ticket items – while consumer electronics are the most popular items price-checked in store (39%), groceries (37%) are the second-most researched and apparel/footwear (33%) came in third.

• Showrooming behaviour pays off for retailers with lower prices – more than half of consumers report discovering lower prices online than in the store. Only 8% recall seeing higher prices.