While it’s impressive that 48% of shoppers are now using mobile devices to research and browse products, the growth of that percentage is even more significant, according to research conducted during the past 15 months by Oracle and Art Technology Group, Inc. (ATG), a company acquired by Oracle in November 2010. The number of shoppers using mobile devices for research and browsing jumped 37% in the previous 5 months.
By the definition of “mobile” the next logical conclusion is that consumers are conducting their research in various locations – at home, at work and in-store. In fact, 16% of consumers are comparing brands and prices while in one store versus competitors’ brands, according to the Oracle/ATG report titled: “Mobile Trends: Consumer Views of Mobile Shopping.” To compile the study, the companies polled more than 1,000 consumers.
Retailers need to sit up and take notice and quickly define mobile strategies to respond to this type of consumer behavior. “Retailers now need to think about the store differently,” said Kelly O’Neill, Director of Product Strategy for Oracle Retail. “Consumers are now looking for more information that they typically have found inside a retail store.”
Mobile Use Grows Beyond Early Adopters and Teens
While some retailers may be focusing on the early adopters of mobile technology, typically a younger age group, they will miss the boat if they don’t take the over-35 market seriously. The number of shoppers aged 35 to 54 using mobile devices for research and browsing is increasing faster than the 18 to 34 group, according to the Mobile Trends report. The 35 to 54 group jumped to 44% from 23% in the past 13 months – a 21% increase. While the 18 to 34 group remains larger, at 60%, it grew 19% in the same time period. Additionally, 36% of those 55 and older are now using mobile devices for browsing and research.
Other notable trends identified in the report include:
- More shoppers across all age groups are making purchases with mobile devices, up to 29% versus 13% in November of 2009.
- While more men (51%) than women (44%) currently are using mobile devices, women as a segment are growing faster – up from 24% in November 2009 versus 30% for men.
- In addition to comparing prices, shoppers are using their mobile phones to visit a store’s web site (10%), look for coupons/discounts (7%), check stock availability (6%), seek ratings and reviews (6%), collect loyalty rewards (5%) and request feedback (4%).
Defining The Next Steps Of Retail Mobility
Most leading retailers have addressed the basics of mobility, starting with putting up a mobile site, O’Neill notes, “But now the market is quickly shifting to: ‘How do I manage the site and deliver on customer expectations?’. We are working on helping retailers develop a multi-channel strategy which includes a core infrastructure and content management system to be able to manage all channels centrally.”
Some retailers are better prepared than others to forge ahead successfully in mobile, O’Neill added. “Retailers that took a very siloed approach to mobile have more challenges now. Those that said ‘How do I extend and leverage what I’ve already built’ are in a better place.”
O’Neill cites Bluefly as a retailer that has successfully melded mobile into its overall marketing strategy. “They leveraged our core infrastructure and have iPhone web services to serve up core commerce content. The iPhone add offers a shared view of the customer, products and promotions. A consumer can seamlessly move from one to the other.”
Retailers also must seriously look into mobile payment as a near-term addition to their mobile strategy. Approximately 56% of shoppers aged 18 to 34 are looking for mobile payment, along with 43% in the 35 to 54 group and 19% of those over 55, according to the Mobile Trends study.
To stay on top of the latest mobile trends, retailers can look forward to twice yearly studies from Oracle and ATG. Upcoming studies may feature more in-depth looks at: the mobile device as a wallet – incorporating loyalty; QR codes; security; and tablet technology, according to O’Neill.