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.