Retailers can’t fight the mobile shopper

Consumer habits have changed, and mobile is now a big part of the shopping process. 

According to a consumer survey carried out for our How the Internet Can Save the High Street report, 43% of UK shoppers now use smartphones while on the move to compare prices and read product reviews (up from 19% last year).

Have you used your mobile to compare prices and look at product reviews while out shopping?


Wi-fi influencing the choice of store

As the stats show, at least 44% of all age groups say that the availability of in-store wi-fi influences where they shop. 

What are consumers using in-store wi-fi for? 

Though retailers fear price comparison, and 60.8% of smartphone owners are using in-store wi-fi for this, many other activities should actually be beneficial for the retailer. 

For example, 57.3% are using wi-fi to find product reviews, something which indicates they are close to a purchase and just require some reassurance (and there’s much stores can do to assist here). 

47.2% are finding or accessing offers to use in-store, while 36.5% are browsing the store’s website. Both very positive activities for stores, especially if they have mobile optimised sites

What should retailers do? 

We’ve covered the topic of offering wi-fi in store in more detail before, but briefly: 

  • Look at offering wi-fi. Retailers in the UK such as Debenhams, Tesco and House of Fraser are doing this, and have extended coverage after initial trials. 3G connections can vary in quality, and users have to eat into their data allowances to use them in store. Customers will appreciate free and good quality wi-fi that allows them to carry out their product research in store.
  • Make sure websites work on mobile. The ideal for retailers is that customers are using wi-fi to browse their own sites, so make sure they work on mobile. 
  • Prompt mobile users. If you have a mobile site or app, let them know about it in store. 
  • Look at promotions for mobile users. Give people an incentive to visit your store and use your wi-fi. There are opportunities here. According to an OnDeviceResearch survey, 74% of respondents would be happy for a retailer to send a text or email with promotions while they’re using in-store wi-fi.
  • Don’t make wi-f registration too difficult. I think it’s reasonable to ask for an email address and a few details (Tesco asks for the customer’s Clubcard number) as many customers see it as a quid pro quo, but don’t ask for too much. 
  • Offer incentives for mobile users. This may be discounts, or something as simple as offering users scanning QR codes a free coffee (as Debenhams has done). This keeps them in store that little bit longer.