Daily Dose of iQ: Retailers Must Embrace In-Store Smartphone Use

Aug 22, 2011 — Allan Pulga

Will Reese recently wrote an article for Fast Company Design (Aug. 18) calling out retailers' failure (to date) to engage with customers who are using their smartphones in-store.

"Customers increasingly use smartphones in stores to help them shop, but the brick-and-mortar retailers are ignoring them," he writes.

Reese piles on a number stats indicating why retailers urgently need to tap into shoppers' smartphones in-store:

  • One in four Americans uses the mobile Internet. That's roughly 75 million people.
  • 84% of smartphone owners use their phones for at least one type of shopping activity (e.g. search product info, take product photos, check prices, or use location-based services).
  • 85% of QR code scanners use their phones to scan products at least as often as when they first tried out QR codes.
  • To see more Mobile Shopping Behaviors, check out our article on M-Commerce and Location-based Services (May 25).

"Even the most innovative retailers like Best Buy, which stakes brand equity on the success of its in-aisle mobile experience, still provide almost no physical support for it," Reese adds.

He says its QR code system is far from user-friendly, its stores lack signage about the Best Buy mobile app and its staff don't advocate in-store smartphone use.

So, are these things retailers need to do more of?

Definitely, Reese says. "One of the great brand-building moments of the next decade is available, right now, to the first company who can design a place that shouts 'smartphones welcome here.' The chance will not come again."

How can you encourage shoppers to use their smartphones in your store?

Check out RetailCustomerExperience.com's list of "5 Ways to Use Mobile In-Store" (July 19).

Topics: Retail Operations, Mobile Industry, Customer Experience

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