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Shoppers keen to use mobile while shopping, but retailers don’t show them the point

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Despite a growing number of shoppers using smartphones most retailers are failing to understand how they use them and engage with them in the right way – especially in store – wasting much of their investment in technology and innovation.

So finds the latest research report from Shoppercentric, published today, which talked to more than 1000 UK shoppers and two focus groups to get its detailed connected commerce shopping habits data.

The study finds that 70% of UK shoppers now have a smartphone and 30% of them have used their phone to shop in the past month. However, Using smartphones as a part of the shopping process has only increased nine percent in the past two years (Shoppercentric research 2013) despite the significant growth in mobile enabled websites and apps.

One in three smartphone owners have shopped using an app, however just one in ten of all smartphone users regularly use apps as part of the purchase process – suggesting that retailers are failing to provide the right content. In fact, more than twice as many shoppers head for a website on their smartphone when in-store, rather than an app.

Those that do you use their smartphones when out shopping are tending to utilize the devices for sharing ideas (47%) followed by comparing prices (29%) and product information (20%). Interestingly sharing photos, taking pictures as a reminder, store location and browsing – with no intention to purchase– were all cited by 17% of respondents.

Using a smartphone anywhere for shopping was used primarily for store location information (36%). Using it to get ideas and for seeking out reviews came in joint second place with 32% apiece.

What is stopping the rest using their phones is that many just can’t see a point to doing so. In fact 50% just couldn’t see the benefit in using a phone while shopping. In second place 27% said that it was too much effort to use instore. Interestingly 23% said they’d just never thought of it. A lack of free Wifi was also cited by 22%.

So what can retailers do to get people using their phones to shop or in shops? Better value for money topped the list (81%) followed by discounts for loyalty (64%) and better customer services (38%). Making shopping easier (30%) and quicker (26%) were also highly requested.

Shoppers also said they would ‘love’ clearer returns time periods, sites being able to hold basket contents, prompted ideas (e.g. other people have…), better guarantees, Click & collect options, to be able to return online orders to store and to be able to find stock in other stores/online.

“The way in which shoppers connect with retailers has changed significantly in the past year and is set to continue to evolve at a rapid pace,” said Danielle Pinnington, Managing Director at Shoppercentric, “as a result it’s easy to jump on the innovation bandwagon, but before taking the leap it’s important to make sure you understand whether that innovation will ease the path to purchase or whether it’s just another point of frustration for shoppers.”

Pinnington continues: “Today’s shoppers are still seeing the rough edges that indicate that we’re not quite there yet. We also cannot rely on smartphone connections alone either and must remember the numerous other touchpoints that shoppers use when shopping. It’s really important to view the whole shopper experience and all of the channels and opportunities there are to sell to and fully connect with shoppers.”

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