August 1, 2012
Shopping has come a long way from the days of going to your local department store to pick up the items you want. We’ve gone from window shopping at the mall to online window shopping and now we browse on-the-go with our smartphones. In fact, for many people, looking up store locations or reading product information while shopping in stores is an integral part of the purchase process.
It is no secret that mobile has had a great impact on the way we purchase products, from researching to finalizing the transaction. With the fast advancement in mobile technology and U.S. smartphone penetration at 47%, more and more users are incorporating their mobile device in at least one stage of their overall purchasing decision process.
And it is not just that; the place and the time of our research has evolved too. There is no longer the need to walk into 5 different stores, compare prices, read reviews and then decide to buy. Nor do you need to go-back-home-and-get-on-your-PC-to-do-some-research. You do it whenever and wherever you feel like it–at the bar, at the coffee shop, in the retail store and, currently my favorite place, at the beach.
We’re not talking solely product research either. One in five users who conduct mobile price match research made their most recent purchase from an online or mobile store, rather than a physical location. 41% of those consumers who used their mobile phones to assist in their product research said they made a purchase directly on their smartphone. 46% said they researched an item on their smartphone then went to a store to finalize the transaction while 37% said they looked up an item via smartphone then made the purchase through the brand’s online website or other online retailer.
Below, we identify the various stages of the traditional purchase decision process that mobile gets involved in as well as the various mechanisms and tools mobile marketers utilize to trigger users and influence purchase at each stage.
- Awareness – One of the most common strategies to create product or service awareness on mobile is through mobile advertising, placing banners and rich media ad units on popular and premium mobile properties.
- Research – From “couch” research to in-store research, mobile plays a very important role in enabling consumers to retrieve vital product information, compare prices and locate retailers to purchase the product from.
- Review – More and more consumers base their purchase decision on third party reviews. Mobile has become one of the most influential methods to seek out and read reviews from fellow users or friends. A recent study suggests that 24% of smartphone users intentionally carry their mobile phones with them while shopping to compare prices, derive product information and read reviews from other consumers.
- Evaluation – Mobile couponing, discount offers and mCRM communities play a vital part in the evaluation process, providing consumers the extra incentive to seal the deal and make the purchase.
- Purchase – With the introduction of NFC technologies in mobile devices and mPayments becoming more and more user friendly, mobile plays and will continue to play a differentiating factor in making the last call and completing the transaction.
Oh and don’t forget…. Every mobile step in the buying decision process is as important as the previous one. But they all have to be accommodated by the most important mobile solution of all, a mobile website presence. Without a mobile optimized site, 75% of consumers reaching out to retrieve product information or conduct research leave the page and go to a competitor’s site to look for an alternate solution. Mobile plays an integral part of each stage in the purchasing process, and it’s up to marketers to make sure to reel in and engage customers every step of the way–and beyond.