Today, many people treat their phone like an extension of their arm, taking it with them to movies, date night, the pool, and even the beach. However, when it comes to digital marketing campaigns, many businesses are still stuck in the desktop era, designing content to be accessed from a comfortably-large laptop or PC screen rather than the scaled-down screen of a phone. Many fail to take into account not only the smaller screen of a smartphone, but also its portability and the myriad ways shoppers use their phones when making purchases.
But, the question is: how are shoppers using their smartphones? And how can marketers and website designers capitalize on these usage trends?
Product research: Many shoppers use their smartphones to compare different products, find out how much products cost, explore features, or figure out where to buy specific items. You need to make it easy for shoppers to obtain this information, points out Bart de Pelsmaeker in “Mobile Content Marketing- Are You Doing it Right?” He encourages marketers to make sure their site resizes to fit a mobile screen and has a mobile-specific interface. Equally important is a site that uses big buttons and is easily navigated by touch as well as a design that allows users to drill down and find what they’re searching for without going through multiple layers of webpages.
Pre-Shopping Research: A recent Google study, “Mobile In-Store Research,” found that 90% of mobile shoppers use their phones for research before they go to a brick-and-mortar store. They use smartphones for tasks such as locating products, getting directions to stores, comparing prices, finding promotions, and reading reviews. When asked, the biggest majority of smartphone shoppers (53%) said they use their phones to make price comparisons, with finding promotional offers coming in second at 39%. The conclusion is inescapable: high-quality mobile marketing is a necessity to stores. The right website can draw shoppers to your store and help them find what they are looking for.
In-Store Research: One in three shoppers now consults a phone for information in a store rather than an employee. In-store price comparisons were the most common shopping activity, whether the category was big-ticket items like appliances or relatively inexpensive items in pet care and grocery aisles. So a well-designed store website can not only draw smartphone shoppers to the store, but it can also help keep them in the store and encourage them to make purchases. It can even increase the size of their purchases. Interestingly, although a lot of phone shoppers use their devices to research deals and coupons, frequent smartphone shoppers end up increasing the size of their purchases compared to casual phone shoppers – an average of a 25% increase. These results only emphasize the importance of a smartphone friendly website.
Home Shopping: At home, shoppers are more likely to use devices with bigger screens such as tablets or laptops to make purchases; however, 72% of shoppers who use their smartphones to make a purchase do so at home. Although phone shoppers are more likely to use their devices in stores or cars or other out-of-home locations, they do perform some mobile shopping activities from home, including reading reviews and using social media to comment on purchases.
These results are a little surprising since reviews and social media aren’t usually time sensitive in the same way that purchasing decisions can be, so you might think that users would utilize laptops or tablets for these tasks. However, Nielsen’s information suggests that it’s important for website designers to make these aspects of the website mobile-friendly.
Smartphone shopping is not a new trend, but it has taken many retailers off guard nonetheless, and many are still racing to catch up. In addition—like everything on the internet—the world of smartphone shopping is constantly evolving, and so your marketing must be constantly adapting—or you run the risk of becoming the brontosaurus of the smartphone world.