There have been some speculations about how the emergence of digital touch points would affect traditional brick and mortar stores. While digital touch points such as smart phones and tablets have indeed soared in popularity, notions of digital touch points displacing physical stores are not yet apparent. Evidence rather proves that one supports the other.
With more than 80 percent of shoppers having a smart phone, the retailer can actually leverage the smart phone to offer a better experience for shoppers. Their task is made easy by the fact that shoppers do not hesitate to use their smartphones when shopping.
A 2012 Vibes report “Understanding the Showrooming Shopper” suggests that 33 percent of smart phone owners use the device to compare items in a store with the ones available at a competitors place, 31 percent use the smart phone when shopping to look up to a product review, and 27 percent use the device to scan the QR code. 20 percent of the shoppers research the store’s website, 17 percent download the app provided by the store, and 10 percent send a text message seeking information. 48 percent of the shoppers reveal that indulging in research when shopping makes them feel better about the products they purchase.
The retailer that makes product information (including reviews, comparisons and relevant deals) to shoppers through smartphones increases the chance of purchase. 14 percent of the shoppers reveal that such information prompted them to make purchases that they would otherwise not have made.
Even if a shopper does not make a purchase immediately, the retailer need not despair. 29 percent of shoppers who visited a shop made a purchase from the store’s online portal as opposed to 25 percent who purchased from a competitors portal.
Retailers must be ready to roll out the red carpet through improved online presence, and optimized websites for tablets and smartphones. Are you there?