Saturday , August 17, 2019

Retailers Adapt to Growing Consumer Reliance on Mobile Apps, Sites, and Devices

Retailers wondering about the role of smart phones in their stores might take this figure into account: 36% of U.S. shoppers purchase via a mobile device frequently, and consider it a part of their regular purchasing behavior. That’s the finding from a recent DMI Inc. survey. DMI is a Bethesda, Md.-based mobile-commerce specialist.

Since a 2015 DMI survey, the percentage of U.S. consumers making purchases using a mobile app has increased 6%. It’s up 3% for those using a retailer’s mobile Web site.

Smart-phone users also conduct a number of other shopping activities using their mobile devices. Seventy percent make price comparisons, and 66% use them to get coupons. Fifty-three percent check shopping lists and 43% scan barcodes.

Retailers, however, still have a fair amount of work to do to match consumers’ mobile expectations.

“This year’s survey reveals that retailers who are investing in an enhanced in-store shopping experience are heading in the right direction, but there is still a significant gap between the haves and the have-nots,” said Jay Sunny Bajaj, DMI founder and chief executive, in a press release. “Those who provide a quality mobile experience will create the loyalty and market share so critical to retail success.”

Retailer eBags Inc., albeit an online-only retailer, appears headed in the right mobile-commerce direction. It reported that year-over-year sales via mobile grew 70% for both the fourth quarter and 2016.

Among the mobile-first elements that contributed to the growth were the reduction of mobile checkout pages from seven to one; adding mobile wallets; improving the loading speed of the mobile Web site; adopting responsive design so the site is optimized for different display sizes; and email messages adapted to mobile users.

Some retailers, like Ahold USA, which operates grocers Stop & Shop New England, Stop & Shop New York Metro, Giant Landover, and Giant Carlisle, are making technology changes to accommodate mobile-commerce use. It recently added Wi-Fi connectivity, in conjunction with Verizon Enterprise Solutions, to all of its 780 stores.

Wi-Fi access is essential for shoppers who want to use the Stop & Shop SCAN IT! app that enables them to scan their items as they place them in their grocery carts. After scanning an app-generated barcode that includes the transaction total, the consumer pays using the traditional checkout process.

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