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Showrooming the preserve of the silver surfer, not the bright young things, finds study

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Forget the perception of savvy young smartphone users looking for a bargain, it’s the older folks who grew up with 1960s austerity that use their smartphones more for “showrooming”, according to new research from global retail technology company Omnico Group.

The survey of 2007 UK adults found that just 37% of 18 to 24 year old smartphone users admit to showrooming – the act of browsing products in-store and then purchasing online. This contrasts starkly with the thrifty Baby Boomers, where 50% of smartphone owners aged 55 to 59 confess to scouring the web for bargains while they’re in-store. Overall, nearly half (47%) of smartphone users now use their smartphones to compare prices on other retailers’ websites while shopping.

Whilst the bargain-hunting Baby Boomers dominate showrooming, the Generation Y “Millennials”, born between 1980 and the 2000s, display a striking dispensation towards loyalty programmes such as vouchers or mobile loyalty schemes.

A third (29%) of 18 to 24 year olds claim that such schemes make them more likely to give their custom to a retailer. This trend decreases as the population ages, before rising again to 25% amongst 55 to 59 year old smartphone users, an all-round savvy shopping generation.

“Some people may be surprised to see Generation Y – the smartphone generation – as less savvy than their parents and grandparents when it comes to shopping for offers whilst on the go,” says Steve Thomas CTO of Omnico Group. “Instead, we’re seeing younger people being drawn in by mobile loyalty schemes, rather than offers. This gives brands a golden opportunity to target Generation Y with mobile marketing and intuitive mobile apps and offers, in order to secure brand ambassadors and sustainable customer loyalty in the future.”

Thomas continues: “Clearly, to appeal to shoppers across the spectrum, retailers need a blend of loyalty schemes, offers and other promotions. It’s critical that these work as natively in a mobile environment as they do via a laptop or in-store and should be part of an omni-channel retail strategy.”

Omnico provides a range of software and hardware solutions that help retailers make the most of mobile technologies, from smartphones through to mobile point of sale. For example, working with Anglia Co-Op, Omnico has helped deliver business intelligence through an analytics tool that enables the assessment of the customer data that allows the creation of bespoke customer offers.

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