Staff Writer: Greta Frusha
The online marketing Los Angeles has long looked at the online-offline gap. With the immense population of Los Angeles, a Los Angeles internet marketing company must pay attention to these numbers. The challenge that they face is to connect the dots between increasing levels of online research and the massive volume of spending that equals about 95 percent of U.S. Retail. Now the dots are being connected by retail inventory feeds along with mobile shopping and payments. It’s even beginning to reverse the flow, which means that people are using offline research to facilitate online buying.
“Show-rooming” is using physical stores as showrooms for product research before buying from online sources like Amazon. Smart phones, shopping apps, and cameras help this along. E-commerce players that were stuck beneath research tools under ROBO (research online buy offline) are coming into their own in this new environment. Those who haven’t stepped up to the challenge of a mobile retail market are finding themselves lagging in sales. Amazon has followed this trend going as far as offering discounts on items scanned in stores from smart phones using its app that was designed for this purpose.
How much show-rooming is actually happening? Information from a Pew Research showed that during Christmas 2011, 52 percent of adult consumers that were mobile subscribers used their devices in some way to aid their shopping. Overall, 38 percent called for advice, 24 percent looked up reviews and 25 percent did the research on prices online and offline. When this report is skewed for the 18-49 age range that is urban dwellers and college educated, the percentages go up.
What is important about this is that 35 percent of the consumers bought items in the same store that they used their phone in. The bad part is that mobile research drove 65 percent of mobile shoppers away. Not so good. When that 65 percent is broken down, 37 percent didn’t buy at all, 19 percent purchased online, and 8 percent bought elsewhere. 27 percent of the shoppers bought somewhere else because of the mobile information they were able to access while in the store.
Embracing mobile marketing shouldn’t be a choice for retailers. They’ll have to move on into the mobile marketing if they want to compete with online retailers like Amazon. Consumers are becoming smarter about research and quicker at using mobile apps to help them find a better deal. Stores will have to launch their own apps or work with retailing aggregators to offer personal recommendations and offers to in store consumers. Despite all of this knowledge staring retailers in the face, many are not doing anything to go mobile.
A December 2011 survey from AisleBuyer disclosed that only 55 percent of retailers have a mobile app or website with m-commerce functionality. Many do provide store locators or product search, but lag in the transactional service area. Consumers are looking for inventory search, deals and loyalty, and personal shopping and payments.
A little bit of this is being seen, but a little is not enough. Retailers are going to have to join in and move with the customer in order to survive.