How smartphone shoppers behave
Mobile technology is in the process of revolutionising the way consumers shop. Here are some of the things shoppers do with their phones:
- 'Webroom', or research products online and then purchase in a local store.
- 'Showroom', or comparison-shop online from within a store after looking at the products in real-life.
- Receive marketing offers sent to the mobile phone.
- Receive personalised service and accumulate points, like frequent flyer points, both enabled by the interaction between the customer’s phone and in-store sensors.
- Accumulate more points with retailers by using the phone to scan items in-store.
- Use the phone on the shop floor and in the dressing room to post photos on social media and gather opinions from friends prior to purchase.
- Complete the purchase using the mobile phone.
- Be tracked through a store or shopping centre using the mobile phone signal, so that retailers and shopping centre operators can understand better how people shop. This information can be used to identify ‘dead’ spots, reconfigure stores, change store adjacencies, and, yes, make more ‘location-relevant’ marketing offers.
- Soon, use the phone as a navigation aid inside stores and shopping centres, much as a GPS system is used outside.
That's the big picture about how the mobile consumer shops. In reality, it is a far richer experience than simply sitting at a desktop, richer because it involves more interaction between the consumer and the outside world. Better yet from the standpoint of retailers with physical store fleets, it still revolves heavily around the store, which is effectively the hub of the mobile shopping ecosystem.
The mobile consumer needs a lot of bandwidth. Not just because of the shopping activities but because no matter what he or she is doing online, the chances are that it involves a heavy helping of bandwidth-hogging activities, like audio and video.
What does the data say about this? There is a lot of information out there about the mobile consumer and how he/she will drive change in the provision of mobile services. But it is scattered and fragmented. So it's nice when someone comes along and puts together some headline information that tells us what is happening and what we can expect.