Mobile shopping doesn't mean skipping the store

By Tom McGee
Trends and insights

This article and expertise was originally published on Forbes.

These days, the desire for speed, easy access and convenience are a priority with consumers of almost every generation.  Technology is impacting every aspect of our daily lives, shifting how we gather information and research and affecting our purchasing choices and habits. We want access to information from our smartphones and we want technology integrated into our shopping experience. To remain competitive, retailers and developers must leverage the technology that consumers use today and the technology they want tomorrow.

ICSC recently conducted a Retail Technology survey which found that consumers are actively using their desktops and mobile devices to browse online. It is no surprise that Millennials are leading the technology charge, but it might surprise some that though 87% of them are doing some of their shopping through their phones, they are going to the store to pick up their purchases. One thing is certain, technology is allowing consumers to drive demand for personalized experience and retailers must keep pace with this trend.

Purchasing habits

More than half of consumers today are making purchases online using a desktop. However, as Millennials, and their successors Generation Z, continue to be smartphone savvy, they’re skipping the desktop and going straight to their mobile device.  This doesn’t mean they’re skipping the store.  The reality is that nearly half of consumers who order products using their mobile device go to the store to pick up their items. While Millennials are leading this trend, both Generation X and Baby Boomers also are taking advantage of “click-and-collect.”

Retailers and developers are taking notice of this shift in purchasing patterns. The uptick in click-and-collect has caused many retailers to modify floor space and developers to centralize pick up centers at their malls. They are dedicating prime selling space to click-and-collect and greater back room square footage for inventory to accommodate the demands of their customer base.

The app experience

Whether it is one app or ten, 74% of consumers access a retail app at least once a week and 80% of those who have mall/shopping center apps choose to receive notifications about sales and special events while shopping. The smartphone app is a critical place to capture the consumer. Retailers and center owners have the opportunity to customize features according to user behavior, recommending products based on previous views and/or purchases or using push notifications to share information about current sales, coupons and even a simple thank you for making a purchase.

As consumers research and purchase using mobile technology, retailers and retail real estate owners must adapt their strategies. Marketing, website experience, app usability all need to be tailored to a new, demanding consumer. Personalization is the key to driving business and use of the app is a critical touch point.

The future

Consumers are looking for an even more seamless experience while shopping. They want the ability to know if products or sizes are available without asking a salesperson; the ability to virtually see how home furnishings and accessories fit in their home prior to making a purchase; the ability to walk into a store and select products with a mobile device;

The technology consumer relationship goes well beyond desktops and smartphones. There will likely come a day when your smartphone isn’t just a mere extension of your hand, but perhaps part of it.


This article was written by Tom McGee from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Twitter or its affiliates.


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