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Shoppers bringing online competition inside bricks-and-mortar stores

by Amanda Martin , 01.04.2015

Online shoppers are famous for having instant access to price comparisons at the very moment of making a purchase – but now ‘bricks and mortar’ shoppers are bringing this same behavior into physical stores.

Half of global shoppers, aged 20-29, compare prices online, while inside a store

In a study of over 25,000 mobile phone users across 23 countries, we found that four out of ten (40 percent) say they regularly use their mobile phone while inside a retail store to compare prices. And, when we look at the attractive 20-29 year old group, this figure rises to nearly a half (49 percent).

Before this, high-street shoppers might visit a number of different shops along the high street to compare prices. But this activity was restricted by the time and energy of the shopper, as well as by the choice of stores available within a convenient distance.

What we are seeing now is a closer merging between physical and online shopping behavior. These shoppers go to the high street to enjoy the social experience of being able to touch and examine products in person. But at the same time, they value the ability to reassure themselves that they are getting a good price.  This means that having real-time intelligence on the pricing of online competitors is becoming even more vital for physical retailers, as well as online ones. This is especially true for retailers in regions such as Asia and South America, as consumers here are most active in using their mobiles while in a store.

Four out of ten contact friends or family for advice while in-store

Another way in which mobile is changing how we shop is seen in the four out of ten (40 percent) who regularly contact a friend or family member for advice while in-store.  And this rises to just under a half for young adults aged 20-29 (48 percent) and teens aged 15-19 (47 percent).

Previously, sales staff and bricks-and-mortar retailers have had full control of the in-store environment. But now they are facing a major external influence inside their own doors, as shoppers’ seek out advice from their own circle at the very moment of making the purchase decision. To counter this, retailers need to understand the complete range of triggers that influence purchase decisions for their specific shopper segments, along with ways to optimize POS messaging for these groups.