Thursday, August 27, 2015

How Do Mobile Experts Use Mobility and What Does it Mean for Retailers?

One hundred percent of mobile experts in our recent survey of 108 mobile experts purchase products online.  Ninety percent have purchased products and services using mobile devices, but only 13% use mobile devices exclusively for purchasing products. Forty-five percent typically use only desktops/laptops, and 40% use both equally.  These are some of the findings from the survey we conducted in May of 2015.

How often do mobile experts purchase products and services using their mobile devices?  Only 1% purchase products using mobile devices daily, 30% weekly, 43% monthly and 20% once every three months.

Wow!  I am a one-percenter!!!  I use my Starbuck's app and Apple Pay often multiple times in a day.

In another recent survey of 5,000 people in North America that I was involved in titled Cognizant's 2015 Shopper's Survey, we found 73% still prefer using desktops/laptops for online purchases. This does not mean mobile devices were not used in the path-to-purchase journey, rather desktops/laptops are often preferred for payments.

Our findings also reveal a typical path-to-purchase journey involves multiple platforms and devices. Often smartphones are used for quick searches and discovery, tablets are used for in-depth immersive product research, and desktops/laptops for purchases.  People even change their device preferences depending on the time of day.  Mobile devices are popular in the morning, at lunch and in the late afternoon.  Desktops and laptops are popular during business hours, while tablets are popular in the early to late evenings.  This points to the popularity of living room and in-bed shopping.  When asked where they are located when making online purchases they answered:
  • 46% in the living room
  • 36% at work
  • 29% in the bedroom
  • 24% in the TV room
  • 20% in coffee shops or restaurants
The use of multiple devices and platforms at different times of the day makes it challenging for online retailers and marketers to track consumer interests.  When asked the time of day when they make most of their online purchases, mobile experts listed the times in the following order by popularity:
  1. Early morning
  2. Mid-morning/Early afternoon
  3. Noon
  4. Late night
Our findings reveal that the retail strategies of yesteryear are insufficient for future success.  Today those involved in mobile commerce have many new challenges.  Mobile users follow different path-to-purchase journeys across multiple devices, times and locations.  These journeys look different for different demographics, categories of products and products with different price points as well. Context is mandatory today to understand how to personalize a digital experience.  Recommending places to eat in San Francisco based on my past preferences, when I am in Boston isn't useful.

Collecting greater quantities of data with users' permission in order to provide a contextually relevant and personalized experience is a hurdle retailers must overcome.  I have some thoughts.  Stay tuned for my new report, "Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of "Mobile Me."

Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
The Center for the Future of Work, Cognizant
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.