With Nearly All Shoppers On Their Phones In-Store, Retailers Try To Bridge Digital/Physical ‘Experience’

The pieces are in place to help turn today’s mobile-savvy consumers into omnichannel customers.

Although roughly 90 percent of people shop in-store with a smartphone in their hands, according to a survey by mobile loyalty company SessionM, brick-and-mortar businesses are still trying to figure out how best make a connection with those consumers.

In an eight-question survey fielded by over 12,000 participants, SessionM wanted to identify trends in consumer retail shopping habits and measure the “impact of smartphones during shopping trips to understand how retailers need to shift their go-to-market approach to build brand loyalty and convert customers to omnichannel shoppers.”

A study from market research consultancy IDC claimed that customers who shopped both online and in-store had a 30 percent higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one or the other. The majority of shopping still happens in-store, so Session M is hoping to figure out the best way to turn those single channel shoppers into multichannel ones.

Second Brain

Over 90 percent of customers surveyed said they had made a retail purchase in the last three months, with the majority making their purchases at brick-and-mortar stores, More than 50 percent still think that in-store purchases are the most reliable and provide the best shopping experience.

However, more than 90 percent also said that they use their smartphones while shopping in-store to compare prices, look at reviews, and find more info about the products they’re looking for.

Additionally, almost 60 percent of customers surveyed said they would be more likely to shop at a store if they received messages or notifications about deals and discounts while physically at the store. Even more participants said they would be more likely to continue shopping at a store if they were offered loyalty or reward points through their smartphones.

Almost 85 percent of respondents said their mobile buying frequency had either maintained or increased since last year. The primary reason for not buying something over mobile was concern over security and personal info.

What To Do About It

The takeaway from the study is simple: customers want to be omnichannel consumers — they just need a push to get there. In-store shopping is still the preferred method of purchasing, but smartphones have now become an indispensable companion for making in-store decisions.

Customers want to feel like they are getting something in return for the loyalty they give to a brand, or for the effort they put into being omnichannel shoppers. The value of customers who shop through multiple channels is great enough that the smart move for retailers is to cater to that desire as much as possible.

SessionM has a few suggestions to make this easier. One obvious example: embrace the customer’s desire for in-store engagement. To start that process, retailers can send them notifications and messages and make them feel like they earned something by coming into the store. The study also suggests using what information can be gleaned from customers who use smartphones in their stores to improve overall shopping experience.

With so many consumers now using their smartphones as a “second brain,” the tools are there to create an omnichannel shopping experience. All that’s needed is the right combination of digital innovation and attention to the statistics of how customers are shopping to get there.

About The Author
Daniel Parisi Daniel Parisi @daniel_parisi_

Daniel Parisi is a New York City-based writer and recent graduate of the University of Maryland. Daniel specializes in coverage of mobile payments, loyalty programs, and the Internet of Things.