Retailers must answer the call to make mobile shopping easier and more engaging, or risk getting disconnected from the majority of mobile device users, a new report says. While 89.7 percent of the U.S. population aged 18 to 64 have mobile phones, only 49.1 percent use their phones to shop, according to Arc Worldwide, the marketing services arm of advertising agency, Leo Burnett. Mobile shoppers are using phone friendly versions of websites and apps to compare prices, read reviews, check out product features, download coupons and make purchases. “It’s going to be hard to find a category that is not impacted by mobile shopping,” William Rosen, president and chief creative officer of Arc Worldwide, says in a statement. Shoppers who used to research big purchases for days can now look up information in a matter of minutes on their phones, while impulse purchases such as buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks can become more considered, if people use apps to find a shop, check nutrition data, or pay by phone.
Arc Worldwide surveyed 1,800 U.S. mobile shoppers and found that 80 percent are light mobile shoppers, who use their phones less often than the 20 percent of heavy users that many apps are geared toward. “If these light mobile shoppers really start engaging and evolve into heavier mobile shoppers, that’s going to increase the mobile shopping population by 50 percent,” says Molly Garris, digital strategy manager at Arc Worldwide. “The idea of a single path to purchase is dead,” Rosen says. “There are many paths to purchase, and mobile technology is enabling people to shop in different ways, and to take different routes to a transaction.”
According to Arc Worldwide, retailers and manufacturers should promote their mobile presence in traditional media and in stores, to keep shoppers from heading elsewhere. “There is the risk of them using someone else’s app and literally getting snatched out of the aisle,” Rosen says. Fifty-one percent of shoppers are more likely to buy from retailers with mobile specific websites, yet only 4.8 percent of retailers had them, according to a November report from Brand Anywhere and Luth Research. The preceding was adapted from a report by Reuters.