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Study Examines How People Use Smartphones While Shopping in Stores

how-people-use-smartphonesAs the holiday shopping season nears, marketers might be thinking about how they can entice consumers to notice their brand. Well, Euclid Analytics recently released a study focusing on how consumers shop and why, and how people use smartphones when they’re shopping in stores. The study included about 1,500 shoppers in the US, spanning multiple income levels, ages, and geographic areas. Here’s what it discovered.

People Still Shop More at Brick-and-Mortar Stores Than Online

Online shopping has become more popular over the years, especially thanks to online retail giants like Amazon. And yet most people still go to local stores more frequently than they shop online. Euclid’s study found that 91 percent of those surveyed go to a local store once a week or more, while just 49 percent shop online that often. About 30 percent said they shop online once a month, while only 7 percent said the same about going to local stores.

The Ability to See Products In-Person Keeps Brick-and-Mortar Stores in Business

Online shopping is pretty convenient, so why do people choose to go to brick-and-mortar stores more often? According to Euclid’s survey, it’s mainly because shoppers want to touch the products they plan to buy. This is why 67 percent still go to stores near them rather than buying online. Another top reason is that shoppers like to browse, since 51 percent claimed this is why they go to local stores. This reason is followed closely by the fact that consumers want instant gratification, as 50 percent said they don’t want to wait for products to be delivered. Apparently even free two-day shipping doesn’t change that!

Of course, not everyone enjoys shopping in stores versus online. About 45 percent of survey respondents said that waiting in line is a disadvantage of going to the store. About 33 percent said the mere fact that they have to physically go to the store is a negative, while 26 percent lamented that they don’t have as many choices in-store as online.

Most Shoppers Use Smartphones in Stores to Compare Prices

Not surprisingly, 83 percent of the consumers in this survey said they use their smartphone while they shop at brick-and-mortar stores. What are they doing on their phone while they shop? Mainly comparing prices, according to 42 percent of consumers who took this survey. About 40 percent use their phone just to text, check email, talk, and use apps. About 31 percent use their phone to check email promotions while in the store, so keep this in mind if you’re thinking of starting an email marketing campaign.

So what apps do shoppers use in stores? Well, 48 percent said they text while shopping in stores, and 35 percent use Facebook. About 33 percent use Google, 31 percent check Amazon, and 26 percent use store-specific mobile apps.

Consumers Want More In-Store Deals via Their Smartphone

A common objective retailers have is how they can get more shoppers to go to their store. This survey’s results suggest that they should focus on offering better money-saving deals via smartphone. More specifically, 53 percent of the consumers included in this survey said they’d like to get the store’s best deals as they shop in stores. This could mean sending shoppers push notifications with discounts once they’re in or near your store, or it could involve emails with offers for a dollar amount or percentage off in-store purchases.

About 36 percent of respondents said they’d like to have quick access to loyalty program information as they shop in local stores. Other popular ideas from shoppers include the ability to see inventory count from their smartphone, access to a map of the store, and a more personalized shopping experience based on their buying habits.

Retailers Should Use Facebook to Improve Brand Awareness

This survey also asked consumers how they found new products most of the time. About 47 percent said they listened to the recommendations given by friends and family, and 37 percent said they went to Facebook for ideas. Approximately 29 percent said email newsletters help them discover new products.

So if you’re going to use a digital method to get new customers, Facebook and email may be your best options. Note that both are also popular among shoppers who use their smartphone in stores, so it pays to reach out to consumers via Facebook and email.

You can download the full report on Euclid’s website, and then let us know how the findings affect your marketing plans!