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The New Phone-A-Friend

Phone-a-friend shoppingRecent mobile research publshed by Pew Internet & Research came like a text message from my mother: initially as a huge surprise, but one I knew was going to happen sooner or later. The industry has been talking about in-store mobile experiences for long enough, but the data spelled out the staggering facts.

The zinger for marketers: according to Pew Internet & Research, half (52%) of adult cell phone owners "used their devices while in store to get help with purchasing decisions." Whoa.

I'm one of them. When I purchased a refrigerator for my new home recently, I called another store to price check the same model. I snap photos of items and send them to my wife for approval before purchasing (saves me a return trip!). I let my fingers do the walking (er, tapping and swiping) on multiple competitor websites while in an electronics store. I thought it was just me, but turns out it's half of us--52% to be exact.

Given this new data on mobile behavior, here are three new mobile personas to consider when designing your mobile strategy for retail: 

1. The New "Phone a Friend." Regis may have retired from his seat on his daytime talk show and "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," but the Pew study showed that 38% of consumers called a friend for advice while in store. How do you influence this conversation when it happens in your store? 
2. The Mobilized Bargain Shopper: At the Mobile Insider Summit last week, I heard a great quote: "Retailers have lost the home field advantage" in their stores. Pew Research shows that 25% looked up pricing online to check for best prices while in-store. Where can your mobile strategy emphasize your value, or at least influence this comparison?
3. The Mobile/Social Experience: 
Shoppers want to know what others think about the product they're about to buy, and 24% looked up product reviews online while in-store. Are you monitoring your product reviews and/or using that content in-store? 

B2B marketers can't feel too safe knowing that these behaviors extend into their realm as well--onto the tradeshow floor, for example. Or who knows what your potential client is checking on their phone on the other side of the board room table during your pitch?

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