The sight of a consumer checking their smartphone before making a purchase has often drawn nervous looks from retailers. Mobile access to the internet has meant that the phenomenon of “showrooming”, where users compare product prices with competitors in-store, has presented a real problem to retailers, who are often reluctant to provide shoppers with Wi-Fi services as a result.
However, new consumer research by JiWire, which sampled over 1400 randomly selected customers across their Wi-Fi network of 315,000, has suggested that providing Wi-Fi services remains a pivotal factor in influencing the choice of shop for a huge 80% of consumers.
So, how can these two seemingly disparate goals – to provide internet capability whilst hoping that consumers refrain from using it to analyse competitors – balance out to form a successful marketing strategy? The answer lies with some truths about consumer mobile activity:
Consumer mobile habits
Although a significant 60.8% of UK shoppers now use smartphones while on the move to compare prices, additional activities, such as checking product reviews, can actually prove beneficial to the retailer. 57.3% of UK consumers reportedly consult online reviews in-store, which indicates that they are serious about the purchase, and just need an extra nudge of confidence. This is something that can be easily followed up by retail assistants, who can treat mobile browsing as a green light to ask “is there anything I can help you with?”.
Moreover, 47.2% of users now take advantage of in-store Wi-Fi to access offers to use whilst shopping, while a further 36.5% use it for browsing the store’s website. Both of these statistics act as proof that mobiles are a great way to enhance interest in high-street shopping experiences. Overall, these positive activities serve to highlight the need for businesses to prioritise a mobile optimised site that is both accessible and easy to navigate.
Adapting to the mobile shopper
These consumer browsing habits demonstrate that retailers who offer Wi-Fi services are well-positioned to adapt to the growing demand for mobile shopping. The JiWire report cites a number of helpful steps retailers can take to improve the effectiveness of their marketing strategy in the current retail climate. Advertising Wi-Fi in-store, ensuring ease of Wi-Fi registration and making websites compatible with mobile web browsers are all simple but effective measures to help make the most of the rapidly growing field of mobile commerce.