Mobile is a huge influencer. The key driver behind this is a rapidly changing population of consumers glued to smartphones and tablets. eMarketer estimates 79% of the population will have and use a mobile device in 2014. Sixty-five percent of them will own a smartphone. While top mobile usage categories continues to be doing emails, playing games, checking the weather and social networking, accessing local content continues to see double digit growth. In fact, 85% percent of smartphone owners will access local content in 2014 according to comScore MobiLens data. Some of the ways consumers are accessing data is while they are in the store shopping. This “showrooming” or looking up a product or service online while in the store to find a better price is a growing trend and it is likely to continue to rise as more consumers are “always on”. According to one of our recent surveys, roughly 40% of smartphone owners use their phones often or every time while shopping. This dramatically increases for Gen Y and Gen X consumers. Of the smartphone owners surveyed 80% are using the phone to compare prices.
When asked if they had ever decided not to buy something in a store based on the information they discovered on their smartphone 40% said yes. This number increases to 60% for Gen X and Gen Y. Showrooming presents opportunities as well as challenges for businesses. You can’t compete on price alone the key is to find ways to engage customers before, during and after shopping. According to eMarketer, Sephora does just that. The cosmetics retailer actively encourages consumers to use their phones in-store and makes it easy by providing free Wi-Fi. “[Our] mantra is that ‘a phone in her hand is worth two in her handbag,’” Sephora’s Dolan said. “We want her to get that phone out … to read reviews, scan products. Having that additional access to the information that you wouldn’t normally have is the true power of omnichannel in my mind, and I do think it’s the opposite of showrooming.”
How are your clients or business addressing this growing trend?