Catering To Smartphone Shoppers

Study finds some shoppers are looking at products in-store, then using their phone to find it cheaper elsewhere.

 A recent blog post by Retrevo examined the results of a Retrevo Pulse Study that polled shoppers about how they use their cell phones when they shop. Findings showed retailers aren’t doing enough to give smartphone equipped shoppers what they need to make decisions on products.

The study showed that while many consumers install retailer’s apps (an encouraging 43%), only 14% of those who installed the app said the app helped them buy something.

“Retrevo’s findings indicate that customers are willing to download and use retailer’s mobile apps,” said Manish Rathi,‘s co-founder and vice president of marketing, “but when only 14% of the installed base actually indicates it ‘helped them buy something,’ it’s time for retailers to rethink their mobile engagement strategy. In today’s market where many brick and mortar retailers are trying to stay competitive, retailers can’t afford to merely serve as a showroom for Amazon.”

Retailers are also in danger of having their stores turn into showrooms for online merchants— 66% of respondents indicate they have looked at a product in a store and then made the purchase online from somewhere else. This number jumps to 78% for smartphone owners who may have an easier time doing research right from their phone. According to the study, more than half the smartphone respondents have used a mobile device in a store to help them buy something.

More than half (53%) of the respondents said they’ve gone to a store to buy an electronics product but couldn’t decide what to buy. The most common reason cited (30%) was that the store didn’t provide the information they needed, such as online prices, reviews, specs, etc., followed by feeling overwhelmed by the number of choices. Many also felt the salesperson was of little help. All this raises the question: Could an app with the desired information help smartphone-equipped shoppers feel less overwhelmed and more confident in purchasing products?

 “Our message to retailers,” said Rathi, “is: Get your app together! A carefully crafted app can help provide consumers the information they need to make them want to buy something.”

The Retrevo Pulse Report is an ongoing study of tech industry trends conducted for the consumer electronics shopping and review site, The data for this report came from a study of online individuals conducted exclusively for Retrevo in October of 2011, by an independent panel. The sample size was over 1,000 distributed across gender, age, income and location in the U.S.

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