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Cell Phones in the Aisle

With 58% of smartphone owners using their phones to help make purchasing decisions, product researchers, marketers and retailers are beginning to take notice (Pew Internet & American Life Project, January 31, 2013). Consumers' activities in the store vary, from comparing prices to looking up reviews:

  • 54% of mobile cell owners have compared prices
  • 51% have checked a product review
  • 45% have scanned QR codes or bar codes
  • 33% have learned about a product on the store's website
  • 28% have used a retailer's app in the store.

Retailers are responding to these trends by offering mobile websites, apps and special deals to convince shoppers to buy in-store (read more at http://www.internetretailer.com/2012/11/13/mobile-shoppers-dont-just-compare-prices-stores).

Retailers, like Macy's, Best Buy, Sam's Club, Publix and Nordstrom, have also begun to offer free Wi-Fi on their premises. By offering free Wi-Fi, stores hope to be seen as a customer friendly destination. By offering access, stores can also see the sites and items their shoppers are viewing on the web while shopping. This type of information can allow them to assess the competitiveness of their prices on certain items and better identify key competitors.

A benefit to retailers of offering free Wi-Fi is boosting their own sales. Shoppers can check a retailer's online site for product or size availability if their local store is out of stock. A survey by Deloitte found that people who use their smartphone in a store are 14% more likely to make a purchase from that store.

How should you respond to consumers' cell phone use while shopping?

The trend of cell phone usage in the aisle is sure to grow with more and more consumers buying smartphones and discovering their usefulness. While retailers are beginning to respond with in-store WiFi, mobile websites, apps and smartphone coupons, there is much to discover regarding how consumers use their smartphones to interact with stores and products. Important questions for retailers, marketers and product developers include:

  • How can I better connect with my consumer in the store?
  • What information do consumers want while shopping?
  • How can retailers and product developers give them that information in a way that is most accessible?
  • How can you know your consumer so well that you can anticipate and address the questions that they will have while shopping for your product?

Nobles Research Mobile Qualitative: Can we help you?

Given the rise in usage of smartphones while shopping, it can make sense to conduct research using that same medium. Designing and executing research using mobile devices allows for information to be collected in the moment versus relying upon recall. Mobile devices can be used to have the respondents:

  • text about their experience,
  • record and upload video,
  • respond to questions via a bulletin board,
  • take pictures of what they are seeing at the store shelf.

This allows for findings to be collected as they are happening, leading to richer and fact-based insights.

Using self-ethnography, journaling and geo-tracking, your next research project could capture dynamic "in the moment" learning about your target audience.

Whether your research project calls for more traditional research methodologies or the latest technology, we welcome the opportunity to provide you with a rich learning experience about your target audience.

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