Research news just out of New York confirms that smartphones are increasingly used for product research both in and out of home, but up to two thirds of consumers supplement this with store visits as well, according to a new report.
The 2016 Mobile Path to Purchase report from xAd, the location-based mobile adtech firm, was based on surveys of almost 1,000 consumers in the US, more than 1,500 in China and more than 800 in Germany, Japan and the UK. As “early adopters” of technology we assume the picture is pretty much the same in Australia.
The study found that store visits remained an especially important part of the path to purchase for US consumers, with 67% making a research trip, 20% up on a year ago, although that compared to just 47% of UK consumers.
It seems that online mobile research provides an initial idea of what’s available, but being able to see and experience a product in a store still helps to finalise a purchase decision, the report noted, and marketers need to understand where consumers are on that journey and respond accordingly.
“With multiple location touch-points throughout the day, different messages and calls-to-action should be considered based on where a consumer is in their purchase journey, and where they physically are in the moment,” said Sarah Ohle, Senior Director of Insights and Innovations at xAd.
“Shoppers may have different needs and wants based on where they are, so understanding the differences in intent depend on where they are in the moment and can help inform messaging tactics,” she told Mobile Marketer.
So, for example, when people are at home, messaging could reinforce branding; when they are out and about they could be shown the closest retail store; and when in-store, a specific call-to-action could be deployed.
“By tapping into a consumer’s location, retailers not only can provide the same level of in-store offers as online can, but they can also create an incredibly personalised and tailored experience to tap into their immediate needs based on where they are in the moment,” said Ohle.
And they may have only a limited opportunity to do so, as more than three quarters of US consumers researching products on their phones were looking to purchase with the next 24 hours.
At MOP, we see the key opportunity for both manufacturers and retailers is to map consumer journeys and then consider how to approach them at various points.
We also note that retail centres and their tenants will be doing all they can to encourage this trend to continue, and we may see a long-term structural change from the “pile ’em high” attitude to product display and more emphasis on “experiential shopping”, cogniscent of the fact that consumers may be in store to discover rather than to buy there and then.
That said, the better the experience, we suspect, the more likely a consumer will be to finalise their purchase then and there.
After all, how many consumers enter a car dealership as a “tyre kicker” and leave as a customer? Or how many people attend a property auction in their area out of curiosity and become so bound up in the auctioneer’s explanation of the opportunity that they walk away with a new home they never really intended buying? It happens.
Data sourced from xAd, Mobile Marketer; additional content by Warc staff and MO Partners.