New research from Pew Internet show just how important mobile phones are to shoppers when they are in the store about to make a purchase. Not only are consumers using their phones to compare prices at other retailers, they are looking up reviews of the products staring back at them from the shelf.
The report ”The Rise of In-store Mobile Commerce” Pew found that during the last holiday season, 52% of adult cell phone owners used their phone in the store to help make a purchase decisions. If you thought they were standing there banging away on their phones to text their kids in the food court, you might be surprised to see that they were actually conducting some serious point-of-purchase research. The study found:
- 24% looked up online reviews
- 25% gathered price comparisons (19% of them went ahead and bought the product online when they were in the store)
These shoppers tend to be younger (age 18-49), live in urban areas and have incomes above $50,000.
Online price comparisons are going to happen. As mobile sites get better and as new apps make price aggregation easier, this behavior is only going to increase. But it’s not always all about price. Pew’s data shows that as many people are looking up product reviews as are checking prices at Amazon or apps like myShopanion. But they’re not looking for ads and company websites. They are checking with friends on social networks and searching for product reviews from other customers to get the info they need to feel confident about a purchase. Building customer advocacy is one area where marketers can influence, and it should be a primary focus.
Filling the web with authentic discussion from customers about quality, efficacy and value is the best way to fight the price war you can’t always control. The story is even stronger when those discussions include photos of the product in use and demonstration videos.A study last fall from Web Liquid found that social media posts with photos had engagement rates higher than any other type of post.
We are encouraging our Agents to use mobile devices as often as possible to share product opinions and experiences. Some of our Agents, like busy moms, use smartphones as their primary connection to the web and their social networks. Having an iPhone app not only enables them to share detailed product experiences as it happens, it’s integration with the iPhone’s high-quality camera make it easier than ever to post the personal videos and photos of the product experience in the store and at home with their families. This is the kind of stuff that will get a product into the shopping cart.
Got the app? If not, try it here: http://www.bzzagent.com/pg/iPhone