How Smartphones Help Customers Shop


The world of marketing and commerce has been going through some major transformations in the past decade, with online shopping slowly replacing brick and mortar stores for many people. With smartphones and other mobile options, the dream of many online marketers is to move to a completely digital world for shopping, but in reality, what we see is a mix of the two. People use their smartphones to find things out about real world stores, things like being able to compare prices on the fly, scanning bar codes, or even redeeming online coupons right there at the cashier. Now, Nielsen, the biggest stats company out there, has released some hard numbers on what customers have been doing with their smartphones while shopping in actual stores.

The numbers and trends are interesting, if not a bit obvious. For a start, most people use coupons at grocery stores. 41% of customers who used mobile coupons, meaning they had a smartphone app or some type of phone based coupon to show at the cashier, did so at a grocery store. 41% did this at a department store, 39% at clothing stores, and 29% at electronic stores. These numbers may be skewed however because they depend a lot on what coupons are available, and typically groceries have always had a biggest presence in coupons. But this is clearly changing, with other types of shops starting to become prime target for coupon using mobile customers.

When it comes to reading reviews, trends seem even more clear. 73% of those who use a smartphone while shopping have read reviews while inside such a store. For department stores, that figure goes to 43%, then 34% for mass merchandisers. But some people take things a bit further, and go scanning QR or bar codes. Any recent smartphone now has the ability to take phones, and apps are available to scan and identify these bar codes. From there, you can know not only the name of the product you just scanned, but also whether there’s better prices available online or at local competitors. 57% of smartphone owners did just that at electronic stores, 36% at department stores, and 31% at mass merchandisers. These apps are often so quick and easy to use that while you’re standing in front of a product, it takes just seconds to know right away if a store down the street has the same item, at half price.

So in the end, it’s not really surprising to see smartphone users use their devices for more than just keeping a shopping list. With all the apps available, it proves that technology isn’t only used online, but it can help a lot while shopping on your own two feet. By getting instant coupons, checking reviews, or scanning bar codes, you can be sure to only get the items you want, at a price that’s competitive.

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