Monday, May 21, 2012

Majority of Mobile Phone Owners Use Their Phones while Shopping in Stores, but Only a Small Fraction Get Mobile Coupons Delivered to Them

Studies have shown that more than half of mobile phone users in the United States today are using their mobile phones to make in-store purchase decisions, and yet, only 10% of them have received mobile coupons to help encourage them to complete a purchase transaction.

Early this year, a study from the Pew American & Internet Life Project revealed that over 50% of mobile phone users used their phone to help them make decisions when making store purchases. According to the study, 24% used their mobile phones to look up product reviews while they were in the brick-and-mortar store, 38% used their mobile phone to call a friend for advice, and 25% used their mobile phone to check if there were better deals and prices to be found elsewhere.

From this last group, 3.5 out of every 10 people ended up making their purchase at that same store resulting in what can dubbed as mobile assisted commerce; while the rest decided either not to make a purchase at all, or buying the product elsewhere (including online). It is quite likely that these figures would have been higher if all these mobile phone users had received a mobile coupon to influence their purchase decisions.

In fact, a report from a more recent study from Mercator Advisory Group about mobile commerce also revealed that among the group of people who were surveyed, 55% expressed interest in getting a mobile coupon. However, only 10% of them have actually ever received one.

These studies indicate that retailers may be lagging behind in exploiting the power of mobile marketing and marketing to smartphone users for in-store sales.

As Mercator analyst David Kaminsky put it, “There is a large disparity between the number of consumers who have expressed interest in utilizing mobile incentives and those who have actually done so.”

It appears that many retailers are building their in-store mobile commerce plans around the adoption of NFC. But could it be that while we are waiting for NFC to be implemented, we are overlooking a huge opportunity to engage the market right now? While wide-scale NFC adoption is years away, in-store mobile commerce can definitely gain from mobile marketing technologies and initiatives, such as mobile coupons and mobile applications, that already exist today.
                                                                                               Yash Talreja, Independent Consultant. 

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