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Study: Shoppers more willing to consult mobile phones than associates while in stores

Dive Brief:

  • About 77% of all shoppers use a mobile device to search for product information while shopping in physical stores, while just 35% are willing to consult an in-store salesperson with product questions, according to a study commissioned by Salsify, which provides product content management tools for distributed commerce.
  • The survey also suggested that creating positive mobile experiences is important for e-commerce retailers as well as brick-and-mortar firms: The research showed that 84% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 29 are most likely to use a mobile device when shopping online, along with 78% of shoppers aged 30 to 44.
  • “Consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to answer product-related questions, like price and availability, while they shop,” Jason Purcell, CEO and co-founder of Salsify, said in a statement. “[This study] demonstrates just how critical it is for every brand and retailer to have a systematized approach to maintain robust and relevant digital content to retain shopper attention and win sales.”

Dive Insight:

There is not anything in this survey that we haven’t heard before, to put it bluntly. We have known for a while that customers are using their mobile smartphones while they are in brick-and-mortar stores to search for product information. Plus, at least 62% of respondents to a recent survey from the International Council of Shopping Centers said virtually the same thing that 77% of respondents said here — they would like to get specific product information though their phones rather than talking to an in-store salesperson.

The connection between using mobile devices for online shopping also has been well-established, with a recent cross-device commerce study from Criteo showing that shopping transactions are being completed on smartphones, and that 35% of sales completed on a smartphone actually began on a desktop device.

We even know well that those crazy kids who are part of Generation Z, which largely overlaps with the age 18 to 29 demographic mentioned above, does absolutely everything, all the time, on their mobile smartphones.

Finally, this Salsify study mentioned the important role that Amazon and Google play in the shopping process. The study found that 87% of shoppers begin the shopping process on either Amazon or Google. Where have we heard something like that before? Well, it’s not all that exact a correlation, but a BloomReach study last year suggested that ay least 55% of shoppers start the shopping process specifically on Amazon.

Salsify’s study however went on to say that while only 4% of consumers who start on Amazon will buy somewhere else, 38% who start a search on Google will buy from a different retailer. Salsify, an enabler of online product-related content, took this to mean that brands and retailers have a tremendous opportunity to win sales by improving their product data on Google.

So, big surprise, this survey ultimately shows there is a need for exactly what Salsify is in business to enable. Does that mean we should talk all these results with a grain of salt? Not at all. One reason a lot of surveys are reporting very similar findings about how mobile is reshaping the shopping experience is that it’s really happening. That’s something retailers shouldn’t ignore — and possibly could stand to hear more than once.

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