Understanding Mobile Usage Trends

Smartphones are transforming the in-store shopping experience. According to the Pew Research Center, 97% of Millennials own a cell phone and of those 80% own a smartphone. Smartphone usage has exploded and this is one trend that’s here to stay. Understanding how cell phones are used in Millennials’ shopping habits can help retailers understand how to make them work to their advantage.

Shopping and Texting

Consumers interact with smartphones, tablets and computers in different ways. It’s important to understand how to ensure that you’re making the most of your mobile retail strategy. The first step is to identify the primary cell phone uses for Millennials when shopping and to tailor the user experience accordingly.

As of May 2013, 63% of adult cell phones users use their phones to go online. Of those adults, 34% go online using only their cell phones rather than a tablet device or computer.

Research shows that most people who use their cell phones to access a retailer’s website don’t usually do so to make a purchase. Mainly, they use their phones to complete pre-shopping activities such as gaining access to reviews, getting store information, and comparing prices. Research like this shows us why it is important to have a mobile site that is designed around these activities and is easy to navigate.

Meet the Showrooming Challenge Head-on. The act, which is the practice of examining merchandise in a traditional brick and mortar retail store and then shopping online to find a lower price for the same item, has increased ever since consumers realized that their greatest shopping companion is their smartphone.

Retailers can help fight showrooming using some of the following strategies:

  • Use technology to keep in touch. E-mail and social media are good ways to stay connected to customers. College students are constantly using both of these communication platforms. Keep in touch by sending updates about the latest product offerings, events and specials.
  • Stock exclusive merchandise. If your customer can’t get what you are selling online, they can’t buy it online. Offer things like exclusive versions of collegiate gear to keep your customers interested.
  • Offer superior customer service. Many shoppers will pay for better service and to buy from a trusted retailer. College students want to be courted. Make them enjoy shopping at your location.
  • Offer loyalty programs. Loyalty programs are an extra incentive for customers to purchase from  you. A loyalty program is a huge advantage for college retail stores that  already have a large number  of loyal customers who shop with them at least a couple times per year. A loyalty program is one way that you can ensure your students shop with you for all their other needs as well. Check out these examples.

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