15 Sep


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Mobile making a difference on the high street

Posted by on 15 Sep 2014

Presently, about 71% of UK consumer phone users have a smartphone so it’s no surprise that brands and retailers have been focused on the mantra “mobile first” as more people than ever before are shopping online and on their mobile devices. However, according to the latest report from BuzzCity, commissioned by the Mobile Marketing Association, there are new trends emerging.

The report has brought to the fore that although consumers are driven by mobile, mobile first shouldn’t mean mobile only for retailers – it is essential that brands create a seamless experience across all channels to ensure that consumers stay with them and complete their purchase. And as the mobile consumer grows savvier this is becoming more normal behaviour - the research has found that at least 22% left stores for a better deal online, compared to 13 per cent in 2013, and 27% could not find what they wanted in store, compared to 14% last year.   

The appetite for shopping via a phone or tablet isn’t dissipating - the BuzzCity report found that nearly half of mobile users (48%) made purchases online regularly, while nearly a fifth browse products online before buying in stores.  What is evolving is that consumers are changing the way they shop and research for purchases or the best deals – and although they choosing the most convenient way to do it via a mobile device, they are also expecting a consistent level of service across other channels too, hence the increase in services such as click & collect.

However, as with the more traditional types of marketing, mobile should not be considered as just a transactional channel, to drive sales.  As network speeds and data capacity continue to improve with the more widespread 4G coverage, leading to quicker download speeds, mobile should be considered as a brand awareness  and information gathering tool.  Prior to a purchase, mobile devices are being used to find out information such as store locations and opening times. Plus when in store, the mobile wallet and contactless payments are fast becoming a part of the shopping experience.

Significantly, the increase of this type of consumer behaviour is no longer a threat to the high street; what our research is showing us is that it is far from cannibalising the bricks and mortar outlets, instead, it actually enhances the shopping journey.

As mobile device usage becomes even more entrenched in our everyday lives, the benefits it brings to consumers when engaging with brands increases. We are now at a point whereby mobile is no longer operating in isolation; for consumers today mobile is the bridge between the real and digital worlds, and is upping the game when it comes to the experience that customers want across all channels. Brands and retailers need to be ready to embrace this.

By Dr KF Lai, CEO of BuzzCity

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