Consumers like to use their smartphones when shopping to find more information or get a better deal. That’s not new news. I know. But every time I see a new study and / or infographic it gets me thinking and that gets me writing. Here’s what started the fire today — a new post from Google’s Think Insights.
Here’s the top half of the infographic.
79% of smartphone owners are ‘smartphone shoppers.’ Got that. 84% use their phone while they’re shopping in-store. Got that. Now, take a look at the categories. Nearly every smartphone shopper uses their phone when shopping for appliances. Brick and mortar owners complain about showrooming, but in this case, I say it’s their own fault.
Twenty years ago, (yes, here I go again with another ‘the way it used to be’ story) the man at the appliance store could tell you every feature on every washer, dryer and stove. He would put in the time to help you find exactly what you want. Might not be the most expensive unit on the floor, but it would be the one that made you happy. Because happy customers come back.
Have you gone shopping for an appliance in the last year? I have. Twice and both times I was helped by a guy who the week before was working in the DVD department of the same store. When I asked about features, he read me the list from the shelf tag. One used his own mobile phone to call up reviews from a site unrelated to the store. He gets points for trying.
The sad fact is, people need to use their mobile phones while shopping because customer service is a thing of the past. Instead of salesmen, we have cashiers whose whole purpose seems to be getting you out of the store faster. From a business standpoint, that doesn’t make sense.
Next on the list is grocery. I use my mobile phone almost every time I shop. I wouldn’t have believed it a year ago, but grocery apps are essential if you want to get the best deal. Last week, I paid $65 instead of $105 at Vons thanks to their club card and their app. For me, mobile coupons have almost completely replaced paper coupons and I got there much faster than I thought I would.
The category on this list that surprises me the most is Apparel. Shopping for clothes is experience for the senses. You see the colors, you feel the fabric. . . a dress that looks great on the hanger doesn’t look as good when you put it on. What are people looking for on their phone? Coupons, perhaps. Or they might be using a store app to find a size online that’s not in stock — but again I say, where are the salespeople? It mystifies me.
Google’s research shows that the average smartphone shopper will spend 15 minutes on mobile while in-store. That’s actually quite a lot of time when you consider their surroundings. This isn’t a coffee shop, this is a retail establishment.
Let’s take a look at the bottom half of the infographic:
From here we can see that retail owners need not fear showrooming. Frequent smartphone shoppers actually spend more money per trip than those who do it now and then. And not just a little more. 50% increase in Health & Beauty, 40% increase in Appliances.
And since Google posted these results, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that 82% of people are using mobile to check a search engine while they’re shopping. Which just goes to show you that we’re never happy with what’s in front of us, we always have to make sure we aren’t missing out on something cheaper or better.