Mike Anthony @ engage consultants

Mike Anthony on Shopper Marketing

Warning: Reading about mobile and its impact on the path to purchase can seriously damage your perspective.

with 6 comments

This will be short. Promise. There has already been plenty written about how exciting mobile is and I won’t disagree at all. Mobile will, (and is already) revolutionize the way people shop and that will have huge repercussions for the industry and might just precipitate the biggest power shift in retail of our lifetimes.

Warning

Handle mobile shopping statistics with care!

But hold on! If the hype is to be believed, apparently most people shop with their smartphones permanently in their hands, never reaching for the simplest of products without first price checking, visiting competitor brands websites or running a swift poll on Facebook to see which brand their friends would buy.
It’s easy to get swept away with hype and hysteria over mobile and retail but let’s just remember what the statistics actually say.

The most recent report on mobile shopping came from Nielsen in their US Digital Consumer Report Within this report, it was declared that 29% of smartphone users use their phones for shopping-related activities. That sounds like a big number, doesn’t it? But hold on. This data is based on the number of smartphone users who used their phone whilst shopping in the last thirty days. At least once. It doesn’t mean that they always do use their phone. Just at least once. In thirty days.

Without getting into the very many people who are NOT smartphone users, let’s just pause for a moment. If you’re like me you’ll have been shopping dozens of times in the last month. And I’m guessing that most shoppers will buy hundreds of items in a month too. So this statistic says, that of the potentially hundreds of shopping actions a shopper takes in a month, around 30% of them used their phone once or more in that time. Potentially this could mean that 29% of shoppers used their smartphone in less than one percent of their shopping actions. Smartphones could arguably be used in around 0.3% of shopping acts (and that’s just amongst smartphone users!)

I’m not arguing that this is true. I know that clearly many people will have used their phone on multiple occasions. But clearly the incidence of smartphone usage whilst shopping is not quite as hyperbolic as the headlines suggest.
Smartphones are exciting. I have an iPhone, I love it, and I get scolded by my wife for never putting it away! I use it when I’m shopping too – for the right item, when I feel it adds value. But not for everything.
In the excitement to embrace new technology let’s not get carried away. Some shoppers use smartphones in certain ways whilst they are purchasing certain products. Let’s not automatically pile the budget on before checking our facts. 99% of these shoppers used a trolley too – that doesn’t make it a great media choice!

As with all potential shopper marketing tools, there are some key questions we can ask:

– Which shoppers are we targeting, and what do we want them to do?
– What do they do currently?
– Is the phone important to them? How do they use it?
– Is it the best media to use, or just the latest?

29% of shoppers use smartphones. They are clearly an important part of some shopping trips. How do they fit into the ones for your brands and categories?

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Written by Mike Anthony

March 7, 2012 at 9:32 am

6 Responses

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  1. At last a voice of reason!

    Shelley Y

    March 10, 2012 at 4:37 am

  2. […] the need for devotees versus loyalists, a retailer finally getting a shopping app right, the voice of reason when it comes to mobile’s impact on the path to purchase and 10 tips for pop-up […]

  3. […] as part of their shopping experience, that one would think that nothing else matters. I could (and have) poke holes at the statistics and the way hyperbole is used to whip up an audience, but more than […]


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