Consumers are using multiple devices throughout their browsing and buying processes, whether they’re sitting on their couch at home or in a store aisle. Smartphones and tablets specifically are empowering customers to search for products, as well as check and compare prices in real time and from any location.
In fact, 70% of U.S. shoppers and 60% of UK shoppers carry their smartphone with them while they browse in stores, according to a recent Usablenet survey. More importantly, 48% of U.S. and 46% of UK shoppers said they would be receptive to receiving messages and promotions via their phones based on their prior browsing experience in the store.
For the white paper, titled: Providing Seamless Multichannel Experiences For The Captive Consumer, Usablenet surveyed 1,500 shoppers in the U.S. and UK to understand and analyze the ways consumers use technology, such as smartphones, tablets and kiosks. Usablenet representatives also conducted in-person interviews with employees and customers who have experience using kiosks in stores to determine the new opportunity for retailers to better engage brick-and-mortar shoppers using these technologies.
Overall, the survey confirmed that consumers “are showing with their feet and with their fingers how they prefer to shop,” said Carin Van Vuuren, CMO of Usablenet, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “As a result, smart retailers will ask: ‘How can we mobilize every single channel that we have?’”
As many as 30% of U.S. consumers and 40% UK shoppers tap their smartphones while shopping in a brick-and-mortar location, the study confirmed. Top behaviors among all mobile consumers surveyed include:
- Messaging or emailing friends (87%);
- Conducting product research (55%);
- Using social networks (55%); and
- Checking customer reviews (54%).
“We wanted to explore our belief that while smartphones are very useful to consumers from a browsing and research perspective, they are super-useful if retailers think about them as multichannel hubs in the store,” Van Vuuren said. “Mobile becomes powerful when it activates other channels in a retailer’s multichannel strategy.
Analyzing The Role Of In-Store Kiosks
Interactive, self-service kiosks are being implemented in stores to create a more convenient and enjoyable shopping experiences. Using these devices, consumers easily can access product information and even order out-of-stock products and have them delivered to their homes.
However, the study concluded that retailers in the U.S. are not implementing in-store kiosks at the same rate as UK merchants. As many as 77% of UK customers said they have prior experience using an in-store kiosk for browsing and ordering items, whereas 59% of U.S. customers have this same experience.
Although Van Vuuren noted that brands such as Aeropostale and Marks & Spencer have successfully implemented in-store kiosks, there are several reasons why retailers have not invested heavily in the technology.
“I think we have a situation in the U.S. where retailers may be a little reluctant to invest in kiosks because the technology typically requires a very extensive integration,” Van Vuuren said. “I think retailers need to take a fresh look at tablets, and truly consider how they can actually bring them into their stores and use them like virtual kiosks. If you put tablets in store associates’ hands, they become walking kiosks. You could be capturing ‘in-the-moment’ business much more readily if you decided to bring tablet technology in the store.”
Click here to download the white paper, titled, Providing Seamless Multichannel Experiences For The Captive Consumer.