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Retailers failing to connect with smartphone-using shoppers

Tuesday July 7, 2015 at 9:23am
New research suggests that although 70% of the UK population now have a smartphone and 30% have used it to shop in the last month, retailers are still failing to properly connect with this audience. The findings come from the latest research report from leading independent shopper research agency, Shoppercentric. The report, entitled “WindowOn… Connected Shoppers” examines UK shoppers and how they use both digital and traditional touchpoints within the purchase journey. Danielle Pinnington, managing director at Shoppercentric, says: “It’s easy [for retailers] to jump on the innovation bandwagon, but before taking the leap it’s important to make sure you understand whether that innovation will ease the path to purchase or whether it’s just another point of frustration for shoppers. After all, what does it mean to be connected from the shopper perspective? And what more could those working in or with the retail sector do to make being connected worthwhile?” Key learnings from the research include: Smartphone and app usage for shopping:70% of UK shoppers have a smartphone30% of smartphone owners have used their smartphone to shop in the last monthOn average smartphone owners use five different touchpoints as part of their shopping habits – including shops, online, smartphones etcUsing smartphones as a part of the shopping process has only increased 9% in the past two years (Shoppercentric research 2013) despite the significant growth in mobile enabled websites and appsOf those who don’t regularly use a smartphone as part of the purchase process, 36% expect to in the future. These future users are less involved in technology (less likely to have a tablet/SmartTV/wearable) and are more likely to be 45+ or C2DEOne in three smartphone owners have shopped using an app; however, only one in 10 of all smartphone users regularly use apps as part of the purchase process, suggesting that retailers are failing to provide the right contentMore than twice as many shoppers head for a website on their smartphone when in-store rather than using an app.Who are the smartphone shoppers (in the past month)? 53% of females have used a smartphone for shopping in the last month compared with 47% of menThe age group most likely to have used a smartphone for shopping in the last month is 25-34 year olds (32%)ABC1 shoppers are far more likely to have used a smartphone for shopping in the last month – 63% compared with 37% of C2DELocation-wise, smartphone users in the north of the UK are most likely to have used their smartphone to shop in the last month (27%) followed by those in London - 19%. The midlands users followed in third place with 18%. Who are the smartphone app shoppers?In terms of usage, 16-24 year olds top the list of most likely to use them (27%)ABC1 shoppers are far more likely to use apps for shopping – 62% compared with 38% of C2DE Location-wise, app users in the north of the UK are most likely to have used an app to shop (24%) followed by those in the midlands - 19%. Users in the south east followed in third place with 18%. Just 17% of London smartphone users utilised apps when shopping. What are smartphone shoppers using the devices for – instore and anywhere? Instore smartphone users utilise the devices for sharing ideas the most (47%) followed by comparing prices (29%) and product information (20%). Sharing photos, taking pictures as a reminder, store location and browsing (with no intention to purchase) were all cited by 17% of respondentsUsing a smartphone anywhere for shopping was used primarily for store location information (36%). Using it to get ideas and for seeking out reviews came in joint second place with 32% apiece. What are the reasons given for not using a smartphone instore?50% just couldn’t see the benefit in doing so. In second place 27% said that it was too much effort to use instoreInterestingly 23% said they’d just never thought of itA lack of free Wifi was also cited by 22%. What improvements could retailers and brands do to make shoppers happier? Better value for money topped the list (81%) followed by discounts for loyalty (64%) and better customer services (38%). Making shopping easier (30%) and quicker (26%) were also highly requested. Shoppers also said they would ‘love’ clearer returns time periods, sites being able to hold basket contents, prompted ideas (e.g. other people have…), better guarantees, Click&collect options, to be able to return online orders to store and to be able to find stock in other stores/online. Pinnington observes: “Life is feeling busier than ever and one in three shoppers want the shopper process made easier so there’s a real need to better connect, especially since – as our research shows - shoppers really are willing and open to this approach, but only if there’s a clear benefit to them and a seamless process." She adds: "We also cannot rely on smartphone connections alone, either, and must remember the numerous other touchpoints that shoppers use when shopping. It’s really important to view the whole shopper experience and all of the channels and opportunities there are to sell to and fully connect with shoppers."
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