47% of premium retail shoppers have made purchases on their smartphone

As retailers gear up for Christmas, a survey into the shopping habits of premium retail shoppers by online retail marketing agency, Leapfrogg, has revealed 47% of premium retail shoppers already use smartphone retail apps to research and buy items, integrating mobile into their own seamless multi-channel retail experiences.

Using mobile strategically

Those making purchases via mobile, purchased frequently, buying smaller ticket items with low emotional and time investment: music, entertainment, fast fashion, groceries.  Giving retailers who haven’t started their mobile strategies for 2012, some strategic entry level clues to engagement.

Mobile’s role within multichannel is becoming increasingly sophisticated as the more affluent users become more confident with their devices.  Statistics recently from Google imply that 65% of smartphone users claim mobile engagement also drives footfall to in-store purchase.

Lucy Freeborn, head of social media and content at Leapfrogg, says: “Making sure your site is optimised for mobile to make initial purchases easy is naturally the first step, but merchandising strategically to encourage repeat purchases of low value, but potentially high profit margin, ‘easy win’ products is a sure way to start seeing ROI from your mobile investment.”

As well as clever product merchandising, a strategic approach to the time of day is also becoming more relevant.  Lucy, continues: “Our own clients have seen mobile-based searches and sales for products at traditionally bizarre times.  For example, we’ve seen bigger ticket items like beds or mattresses, with usually long and multi-attributed sales processes, being bought first thing in the morning from a mobile device – potentially in a fit of frustrated pique after another dreadful night’s sleep!”

Internet influence on multichannel

When asked how they ranked different types of internet use to help buy products, there was a clear winner; using the internet to research products and brands to be inspired or to help with ideas was the most popular use of the internet for premium shoppers within the multichannel buying cycle.

 

Ranked below, in order of popularity, are the other ways in which premium retail shoppers use the internet to help them shop:

1.     Using the internet to research products and brands to be inspired or to help with ideas

2.     Checking and comparing prices before completing purchases online

3.     Researching online to ‘short-list’ products before going in-store to actually buy

4.     Despite the explosion of coupon and offer sites this year, using the internet to find discount vouchers was only the fourth most popular use of the internet within the buying cycle

5.     The preference to go in-store to ‘touch and feel’ a product before going home to purchase was the least popular internet role within the buying cycle

Lucy, continues: “Strategically, great SEO, online PR and social media will ensure visibility for brand and non-brand searches to drive the engagement and research that online shoppers want, where-as mobile outreach must meet the functional need: helping them buy quickly when they know what they want and when they want it and helping them find your stores when your shoppers are out and about. But making sure this online engagement supports your offline and in-store activity is vital to ensuring a seamless multichannel experience – the days of viewing your online store in a silo is well and truly over.”

Future proofing your sales

The majority of our respondents (nearly two thirds) did between 50 – 75% of all their shopping online – with 4.5% claiming that they do all of their shopping online.

Out of all of this online shopping, a whopping 59% of our respondents claimed that 90% of it was for non-food items and 8% of respondents claimed that they shop for all their non-food items online.  A hugely positive vote of confidence for premium online retailers as we move into one of the most important retail periods of the year.

The most popular premium non-food purchases online are Travel and holiday accommodation followed by Gifts for others, Clothing and fashion, Homeware, Shoes and accessories,  Furniture and Jewellery.

Lucy, continues: “When the digital industry is awash with technological advances, it’s vital not to lose focus on the products you’re actually selling.  If research has shown that gifts are the second most popular premium purchase online, then how can you merchandise or promote your products for this need?   Plus, in the run up to one of the most important times of the year – how can you think bigger picture into 2012 and use insight to de-seasonalise products to future-proof potentially difficult times ahead?”

Retailers: the good, the bad and the ugly…

Leapfrogg also asked respondents which premium retailers are doing online well and why others do it badly.  Unsurprisingly and unprompted, John Lewis, ASOS, Amazon, Net-a-porter and Not on the high street were all given positive mentions, with praise for “easy navigation”,clear photography”,excellent information about the products” and importantly for products bought online that “items arrive when they say they will” and “they offer free delivery”.

When asked to describe why some online retailers are still doing it badly, unprompted responses included “poor product display”, “confusing layout”, “looks untrustworthy”, “really bad on and offline experience – no link up between the two” and “checkout process was painful”.

Future-proofing the premium multichannel retail experience

Taking that step back and understanding what your customer wants from the shopping experience you offer, not only enables you to focus on what is genuinely going to make a difference to your online sales, but really tailors the experience to a target audience and delivers online strategies that align with offline and in-store marketing activity.

 

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