How Customers Use Smartphones to Shop



Mobile phones are convenient, easy to use and multi-faceted. Therefore, it’s no wonder that consumers are embracing them to help with numerous tasks beyond making calls. In particular, shopping lends itself to the smartphone, and it’s a trend that is only increasing with every passing year. Any retailer, regardless of their size or the products they sell, would do well to incorporate mobile phones into their business and marketing strategies going forward.

Smartphone Use Is Increasing

Why have these hand-held devices captured the imaginations and altered the shopping habits of so many? With 77 percent of Americans now owning a smartphone and an estimate that 2.87 billion of the world’s people will be using them by 2020, it is definitely a question worth asking. Mobile devices offer the following advantages:

• Inexpensive models are affordable even in the developing world.
• Smartphones offer the security of digital wallets and cashless payments.
• Smartphones allow customers to check for the lowest prices.
• Consumers can take advantage of location-based promotions and customer loyalty programs via their phones.
• Smartphones give people the ability to shop without being chained to a personal or work-based desktop computer.

While mobile phone shopping contains its own occasional glitches and frustrations, many buyers are finding it to be the commerce trend of the future.

Smartphone Shopping Is a Growing Trend

Exactly how do consumers use their phones in uniquely appealing ways? For one thing, the vast majority of mobile phone customers are cognizant of the fact that these devices are small computers in their own right. They take advantage of their powerful capabilities by looking up local businesses and deciding which to patronize. If you’re a small entrepreneur, this fact should get you thinking.

Better still, over half of U.S. smartphone users translate their browsing into actual purchases, and the numbers confirm this fact. Mobile shopping revenue jumped by a hefty 22 percent over the 2017 holiday season alone. Whether they buy via the phone’s internet browser or use a customized app provided by the business, the data point to robust mobile phone commerce that only stands to grow in the upcoming years.

Smartphone Users Prefer Using Their Devices to Shop

Yes, customers are using their phones to make purchases with increased frequency, but does that mean their shopping preferences have evolved in other ways? It turns out that many, around 45 percent, now prefer to use their mobile devices to shop as opposed to buying products in person or via their desktop computers. Many consumers, particularly young millennials, have also quickly transformed their choices, no longer preferring to buy even on sites that are optimized for mobile phone users. Instead, 59 percent of these younger buyers seek out business-specific apps when the time comes to transact a payment. Regardless of age, well over one-third of all buyers specifically express that they don’t even mind paying more for products and services if they are presented on a site that is smartphone-friendly.

Smartphone Users Can Use Their Devices In-Store

Many praise the mobile phone for being an excellent tool that allows customers to purchase products portably and remotely, no laptop or PC required. While that is true, smartphones also augment the in-store shopping experience, and this is the case not just for buyers but for retailers as well. From the customer’s point of view, mobile devices provide a way to do instant price checks and to bargain-hunt on the fly. What’s more, people can redeem mobile coupons and participate in loyalty programs without the hassle of keeping and organizing cards and receipts.

Entrepreneurs win with smartphone technology as well since it furnishes numerous ways to enhance their point-of-sale (POS) solutions. As a result, payments can be made quickly and securely, a fact that at least 26 percent of small business owners in the U.S. already recognize. Many are now accepting payments via mobile readers, NFC and contactless technology. By so doing, these retailers have jumped on the mobile technology bandwagon and have integrated it into their payment systems, a decision that is helping them with staffing, inventory tracking and customer management.

Smartphone Accessibility Helps You with Your Reputation

Since the dawn of commerce, customers’ impressions of their buying experiences have been vitally important. However, in today’s media-obsessed climate, creating a brand, cultivating customers and enhancing your online credibility has become exponentially more crucial. Fortunately, the smartphone craze lends itself to helping businesses get their name out there to current and potential customers.

When you create an image and an online presence for your business, you gain a lot more than increased name recognition. Perhaps your biggest asset becomes customer trust, something you earn over time. Unless you have consumer trust, your online clout will be diminished at best and nonexistent at worst. A full 77 percent of U.S. consumers only download apps from retailers they feel good about. By the same token, many customers’ patience wears thin quickly. If something goes wrong with their mobile experience on your site, a full 46 percent will exercise their right to shop elsewhere. This underscores the importance of polishing your mobile presence and keeping up with the latest trends. Even if it means hiring a consultant to assist you with this process, it may well be an investment that pays for itself many times over.

Social Media Is Incredibly Important to Mobile E-Commerce Strategies

A few numbers illustrate the growing power of social media. A full 69 percent of Americans have jumped on the Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest bandwagons. In addition to using these sites to connect with friends and to express their political and social views, they also utilize them as mouthpieces to amplify their positive and negative opinions. When you consider that 44 percent of consumers have no qualms about harnessing social media to trumpet their dissatisfactions about a company or a shopping experience, it’s impossible to over-estimate the power that these platforms wield.

While it’s easy to be intimidated by the sheer magnitude of these sites, business owners can also use social media to their advantage. Remember, for instance, that at least half of Facebook users have positive feelings about the idea of receiving promotional offers and coupons on their smartphones as they walk down the aisles of your store. Even more Facebookers would respond positively to viewing one of your advertisements on social media. These numbers offer heartening indications that social media sites may well turn out to generate the next wave of positive interactions with your customers.

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