Still Think Smartphones are not the Next Shopping Mall?

A recent survey by LEK consulting shows some very interesting trends regarding consumer purchasing habits through their mobile devices.  I was even a bit surprised at just how fast consumers are adapting to purchasing and doing research on the go.

The survey found that 39% of consumers make purchases on their phones at least once a month.  While this statistic in and of itself isn’t particularly surprising, once you take a look at the actual scale of the business being done on mobile devices, the conversation changes.

If 39% are making a purchase once a month, and 40% of Americans have a smartphone, that’s just shy of 575 million purchases made by this group in a year through their mobile phones.  This doesn’t even count people making purchases every couple of months, and the ‘purchases’ don’t include music or video downloads.

Real business is being done every day on mobile devices. Smartphones are dominating U.S. Mobile purchases. Can you afford to not be talking to your customers on this medium?

Something I do when I buy anything over $100 (and often for even smaller purchases) is research on my phone.  The same study shows that 80% of smartphone owners are using their device to do research for a purchase.  Even if your product is something you’d never sell on a mobile device, like a house, or a car – can you afford for your competitors to be dictating the results of your potential customer’s research because your message just isn’t getting to them?

Another great finding that harkens back to one of my first blog entries here is that consumers are willing to share their location information in exchange for coupons, rewards points and exclusive sales.

In “A Key to a Successful Mobile Ad: Don’t Just Distract—Delight”  I talked at length about the good and bad ways to advertise to mobile users.  Give them something valuable for their time and attention.  I will gladly ‘check-in’ in exchange for a small discount or to earn some rewards points towards a future purchase.  The business gets free advertising to everyone following my FourSquare, Twitter and Facebook feeds (close to 1,000 people, not including re-tweets or shares), it builds loyalty with me as a customer, and the business investment is only 50 cents in frozen yogurt or 5% off a pair of shoes.  This is a no brainer!

The trend is clear.  Consumers are using Smartphones more and more in their research and purchasing decisions.  Now is the time to understand the potential and take steps to implement a comprehensive marketing plan that blends mobile commerce as an integral part of your marketing strategy.

So, how are you taking advantage of smartphones and today’s mobile shopper?  What procedures have you seen that are working well?  We’d love to hear your ideas so leave a quick reply in the comments below.
David Egger IRU Mobility Programs Lead Marketing Manager AT&T About David