Consumers are using their smartphones to compare prices and look up product reviews while in-store, according to a study by Hitwise, a division of Connexity.
Based on the online activity of 3 million UK shoppers, the research shows that 77% of online searches that focus on price match and 84% of online searches that focus on reviews begin on a mobile device. This compares to an average 62% of all retail searches that are initiated on a mobile device. The findings suggest that many of these searches are made while the customer is considering a purchase in-store, Internet Retailing reported.
Hitwise also found that shoppers are using their phones to access information they would previously have sought in-store: at least 71% of online searches for retailer returns policies take place on a mobile device, indicating that shoppers are choosing to reach for their smartphone rather than ask a shop assistant for help.
Nigel Wilson, managing director at Hitwise, said that retailers need to respond to customers’ changing behaviour:
“Shoppers are using their mobile phone or tablet as a tool to search for more choice and find the best deal. However, retailers must ensure a seamless experience from online to offline to reflect the growing accessibility demanded by today’s consumers.
“By giving products in-store and online the same price tag, the customer is more likely to feel satisfied with their purchase and less likely to buy from other retailers instead. An integrated strategy also helps the retailer’s brand image appear more reliable, encouraging customers to feel comfortable using the online platform.”
Wilson continued: “Understanding the roles played by different devices at each stage of the customer’s journey to purchase is key to developing a strategy that engages shoppers and motivates them to buy. A retailer should avoid limiting a customer’s choice to a certain product and instead present a range of items across online and bricks and mortar stores to ensure demand for options is reflected as part of a complete retail experience.”