Study: Consumers more likely to shop tech-friendly retailers

A new study shows that consumer demand for mobile technology has reached a fever pitch, with most shoppers trending toward mobile-friendly retailers.

According to a study by SOTI, differentiating with mobile technology is proving successful among retailers, with 73% of survey respondents stating the availability of in-store mobile technology signaled better customer service and loyalty, an increase of 26% from the previous year. 

Major investments in mobile technologies continue to proliferate in the retail industry as signaled by an increase of 83% of respondents reporting in-store mobility technology experiences. The survey revealed consumers are more likely to use mobile technology throughout their entire shopping experience, from research and price comparisons in-store to self-checkout and mobile point-of-sale (POS).

Other key findings of the study reveal:

  • Consumers prefer mobile-friendly retailers: 66% of consumers are more likely to shop at retailers offering an in-store mobile technology shopping experience, an increase of 52% year over year. Half of the respondents preferred mobile-forward retailers because of a more personalized experience, an increase of 52% from the previous year.  93% of respondents would like to see more stores using in-store mobile solutions.
  • Demand for customized promotions and personalized experiences on the rise:  Retailers are increasingly using location-aware beacon technology to deliver promotions and coupons to consumers, with almost 40 percent of respondents reporting they have experienced this in the past year, an increase of 33 percent from the previous year.  Further, 85 percent of respondents would like to see more customized, location-based coupons and promotions from retailers while in-store. 
  • Mobile “showrooming”-friendly retailers will persevere:  The showrooming phenomenon has increased by one-fifth, with 90 percent of consumers now using their smartphone to compare in-store prices with online internet prices right.
  • Retail mobility footprint expanding across segments:  Big box retailers, clothing stores, and health and pharmaceutical retailers have grown their mobility footprint most significantly in the time period.  Restaurants, Big Box stores, and electronics retailers continue to lead in their mobile consumer experiences in 2015, with 6 out of 10 respondents reporting having encountered mobility in these segments.
  • Consumers prefer in-store kiosks versus a sales associate:  59 percent of consumers prefer using an in-store kiosk rather than speaking with a store employee or sales associate.  This is a 28 percent increase in the past year.  An additional 41 percent of respondents claimed that sales associates equipped with special-purpose mobile devices were better informed and increasingly helpful.
  • Mobile POS demand continues to grow:  7 out of 10 consumers prefer mobile POS instead of traditional cashier checkout, an increase of 20% from the previous year.  An additional 45 percent report that they would be more likely to shop at a store that offers mobile POS, an increase of 25% from 2014.
  • Security remains a top priority - more consumers willing to take legal action for personal data breach:  Security continues to be a high priority with shoppers, with 9 out of 10 shoppers reporting that they would cease shopping at a retailer that suffered a security breach of their payment or personal customer information.  More than half of consumers reported that they would pursue legal action if a retailer leaked their payment data or personal information, an alarming increase of 43% from the previous year.  An additional 62% would publicly expose the issue on social media, and 7 out of 10 would boycott the retailer with family and friends.  Interestingly, 88 percent of respondents said they assume retailers have security and privacy practices in place.  More than 53 of respondents would stop frequenting a store if they learned the store had lax security and privacy practices.
  • Consumer retail mobility education needed:  1 in 5 respondents expressed strong uncertainty on how to use the technologies in-store, signaling the need for increasingly user-friendly mobility experiences and better consumer education. 

“In-store mobile technologies are helping brick-and-mortar businesses better compete with online-only retailers and is enhancing the overall shopping experience for customers,” said Carl Rodrigues, SOTI President and CEO.  “It’s clear that consumers are looking for the best deals, want instant gratification with in-store couponing and comparisons, and fully expect assurances that their data is protected.  These trends are a boon for enterprise mobility management companies that are charged with unifying all retail endpoints, whether consumer-facing or back-of-the store technologies.”

SOTI Inc. issued the year-over-year comparison survey in late December 2015 against results from 2014. SOTI surveyed nearly 200 consumers with the majority of respondents residing in North America.

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