With smartphone and tablet use booming, consumers are increasingly using mobile devices as ‘shopping assistants’ that help them to research, locate and purchase goods and services online, on mobile and on the high street. This rich variety of purchasing patterns and journeys, revealed in an in-depth research study by leading performance-marketing firm Tradedoubler, will challenge all retailers who are unprepared.
The research, commissioned by Tradedoubler and carried out by Forrester Consulting, involved more than 2,000 smartphone users in the UK, France, Germany and Sweden. The findings show that mobile access to product information, store location, location-based offers, voucher codes, comparison sites, barcode scanners, product reviews and purchase tracking is making the traditional in-store approach to purchasing increasingly out-dated.
The study found that over 71 per cent of smartphone users across all four countries are researching potential purchases via mobile, and more than half (53 per cent) are buying goods and services other than downloads on their device.
Survey results for tablet owners demonstrate the immense power of this new platform, with 40 per cent of users researching a potential purchase and 33 per cent going on to complete a transaction. Tablet users are also among the highest mobile spenders, with the average highest amount spent quoted at £185 compared to £113 on mobile.
Making money on the move
The ‘portability’ of mobile devices encourages anytime, anywhere research and purchasing. Even when smartphone users are in-store, retailers cannot rest easy: with 42 per cent of users comparing prices and 13 per cent switching stores after spotting a more attractive offer elsewhere. Location-based offers or vouchers, however, help to secure the interest of a fifth of potential buyers. Overall, one in four mobile research sessions ends with a purchase being completed on the phone itself.
Mobile-optimised web sites: simplicity and relevance are vital
The research reveals that the lack of mobile-optimised sites – ones that are clear, tailored, quick and easy to navigate - is a headache for more than a third of European consumers. A quarter (26 per cent) of respondents said they would buy via mobile more frequently if websites were optimised.
The study shows that the UK has frequent but generally more frustrated mobile shoppers (50 per cent, compared with a European ‘frustration’ average of 33 per cent), while many users in France (38 per cent) believe mobile shopping saves them time. German consumers feel that buying over mobile is no different to purchasing via a computer (44 per cent) and Swedes are most likely to turn to their mobile phone in-store. These national differences have far-reaching implications for advertisers looking to develop internationally optimised mobile offerings and affiliate programmes.
The biggest obstacles: privacy and security
Consumer concerns around data privacy and payment security were found to be significant obstacles that must be overcome for m-commerce to gain mainstream acceptance across Europe. Around half of those surveyed across all four countries were concerned about the security of mobile as a payment platform, but 42 per cent of smartphone owners are interested in using their device as a mobile wallet if it were available.
Tradedoubler commissioned the study to help its clients across the affiliate marketing industry better understand and harness the potential of mobile commerce.
“This research represents a wake-up call for all businesses that still believe an m-commerce strategy is a ‘nice to have’ rather than business critical,” said Urban Gillström, CEO, Tradedoubler. “Consumers increasingly expect a seamless, multi-touch, multi-channel experience across mobile, online and in-store platforms. The future belongs to the advertisers that can deliver that, but it can be difficult for them to know where to start. We have undertaken this research as part of our commitment, not just to creating a world-leading mobile affiliate marketing and analysis platform for our customers, but to helping organisations across the industry better understand what they can do to take their first steps in m-commerce.”
Elaine Safier, Chief Commercial Officer, Tradedoubler, said: “The research illustrates how important it is for retailers to understand their audience when developing a mobile strategy: the device they use, their location and their interests and aspirations. This will help them to address important issues such as user experience, privacy and security concerns, and lay the foundations for next generation products and services that are contextually relevant, location aware and intelligently personalised.”