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Mobile and social heavily influencing consumer shopping behaviour – and driving users in store, finds study

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Social media and mobile are influencing and incentivizing shoppers to a dramatic degree and are likely to drive cross channel demand further, with half of users having shopped on mobile, used social price comparison sites and received discounts through mobile, finds an IBM European study into consumer shopping behaviour.

More than half (51%) of online adults said that they have shopped through the mobile phone, with 67% percent of these consumers deeming it important that they can not only capture, but also place an order, highlighting that this is a maturing market. The survey also found that mobile phones are incremental in providing additional revenue opportunities through promotions and last minute purchases:

Nearly 70 % see price comparison on mobile as important or very important, while 38 and 29% respectively say it is important to receive discount coupons and special offers through the mobile phone.

But the IBM research also finds that mobile is increasingly being seen as part of a multichannel and social retailing world, with 38% of those surveyed wanting to be able to review and change their shopping basket items at a later time, on their home computer and to use social media to an increasingly sophisticated way, researching products, prices, promotions and other consumers’ views, to validate their decision-making. This is then influencing sales across all procurement channels – not just online and mobile.

“It is clear to see that the mobile phone is no longer just a viewing screen or digital catalogue – there is a growing acceptance of shopping through the mobile,” says David Hogg, commerce solutions regional leader at IBM. “As well connecting to these customers through their preferred channel, retailers also need to make sure they have the means of effectively managing their supplier and trading partner network to ensure they have the products at the right time and place to meet changing consumer demands.” concluded Hogg.

The annual consumer research by IBM, across 4000 adults in Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy who have access to the internet finds that more than 50% of respondents aged 16 to 64 use social networks to assist with shopping decisions and of those that would be likely to follow a retailer on a social network, 35% stated they use social media platforms to read reviews or rank products and services.

Additionally, 25% of these adults think it is important to be able to use social networks to assist with buying decisions. Of this same group, 57% said that the most likely reason to ´follow´ a retailer on a social network is to receive free trials of products or discount coupons.

The good news for high street retailers is that the study goes on to find that, when going on to make the purchase, around 4 in 10 of these online adults would still purchase the final product from within the store.

“Social media provides a new window through which retailers can deliver a more personal brand experience across all buying channels,” says Hogg. “By harnessing real-time customer analytics from social media, retailers can act upon what is being said, delivering a personalised marketing offer based on the customers’ shopping profile, preferences and decisions, helping retailers to maximise revenues.”

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