Recently, two seemingly conflicting pieces of information about consumer in-store mobile device usage behavior caught my eye. The first was a story on NPR, “Forget the Register: Stores Use Mobile to Make Sales on the Spot” — it primarily focused on evolution taking place at high-end department store, Nordstroms, and a trend called “showrooming, whereby consumers are encouraged to make on-the-spot purchases through sales clerks armed with iPad with credit card swiping capabilities.
The second story covered Accenture Interactive’s survey on shopper behavior that focused on how 72% of US and UK consumers age 20 – 40 use mobile devices to do price comparison shopping while in-store (perhaps because 52% of these shoppers believe that in-store prices are higher than online ones). The title of this latter piece, “Tempted, But Leave Store Without Making Purchase,” leads us to believe that the NPR story’s scenario is untrue.
What neither story dives into is consumer segments (other than age) and expectations for their in-brand experience. While I think it’s to be expected that 60% of consumers like to see, touch and feel certain products before they buy — or even that up to 65% of them will still go home to buy that produce online after they’ve seen it in-store — going to stores like Wal-mart, Best Buy or Toys ‘R Us to comparison shop is an altogether different mindset and type of shopper than the one who goes to Nordstroms, Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue or Bloomingdales for the customer experience.
Accenture’s own analysis came to a similar conclusion: “It is clear that consumers are demanding a more individual relationship with retailers and in the emerging ‘forever prospect’ model of retailing, that means service and product experience can be more critical than price,” said Baiju Shah, managing director of strategy and innovation for Accenture Interactive. “Consumer marketing needs to address the current disconnect between offline and online shopping and enhance the physical store front with tailored digital experiences.”
Point being, if a store is going to sell on price, it can expect consumers to walk in with mobile devices and price compare; if on the other hand, a store sells on attributes other than price — such as Nordstroms does — mobile device instant shopping can become just part of their customer service experience.
Let’s admit it: Americans loves to shop! Malls and retailers are not going to go away. It is still a very social experience. Retailers and shop keepers alike who are adept, who learn to adopt new ways such as technology and adapt to what their consumers want will survive and in fact thrive.Comments(1)
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