Our phones have had a massive impact on the way we shop. In fact, they have completely redefined the entire customer decision journey.
A couple of decades ago, a shopper would often go to the store before they were even sure what they were looking for. They’d then look in a catalogue or browse the aisles until they found what they wanted to buy. Then they’d call over a shop assistant, or look at the product tag to find out more information.
Sometimes they’d even travel to a few different shops to see how the prices and quality differed. Making a large purchase could take several hours – if not days – to mull over.
But all of that has changed. The rise of online shopping made it simpler to make purchases on the spot. If you so choose, you don’t even have to leave the house.
‘Going online’ no longer means logging into your computer and sitting behind a screen. For many people, a simple smartphone can now meet all of their online needs.
It’s only recently that smartphones have begun to affect the way we shop. But this change could lead to one of the most drastic shifts yet.
Ecommerce Meets Retail
82% of smartphone users have reported that they use their phones to make decisions about purchases that they are about to make in stores. This includes reading reviews, gathering more information, and even researching and shopping around to see if they can buy the product cheaper elsewhere.
Some people even use their phones to get opinions from their friends by texting them when they’re trying on outfits. Some stores have chosen to boost their advertising by rewarding users for posting pictures of their new purchases online and ‘checking in’ to locations on social media to advertise the store to their friends.
More people than ever are using their phones to buy products, too. Years ago, it would have been unheard of to use your phone to splurge $1,000 on products during your commute to work. Now it’s becoming more and more common
Gamifying the Shopping Experience with Smartphone Apps
In addition to using our phones to make purchases outright, it has become increasingly common for users to download apps that gamify the shopping experience.
There are many of these platforms now available in the app store. One particularly popular option is Shping, a smart shopping app that dishes out rewards just for using it.
The app allows users to find out what is in a product, where it’s from, whether it is authentic, and what people thought of it – just by scanning the barcode.
In return, users can earn Shping coins. They can choose to keep these coins, exchange them for rewards, or exchange them for fiat currency.
This platform, and others like it, could be the future of shopping. It combines the fun of shopping in store with the convenience of ecommerce – and rewards people for using it in the process.
Despite What We’ve Been Told, Ecommerce Won’t Put An End to Retail
Physical retail stores aren’t competing with online ecommerce stores. Rather, they supplement online options, and even more importantly, they provide a shopping experience that online shopping can’t.
Mobile shopping is a perfect way to bridge the gap between ecommerce and retail. It succeeds in making the entire shopping experience more convenient, personalized, and efficient.
In an interview, the online trade director at John Lewis, Mark Felix, stated:
“Mobile is undoubtedly our fastest growing sales channel. Importantly though, mobile is becoming the glue between our shops and online.”
“Increasingly, customers are using the two channels combined and for example use their mobiles to check ratings and reviews and further product information when in-store.”
For the customer, this leads to a more positive and satisfying experience.
For the retailer, it could actually lead to even more benefits and significantly increase their bottom line. By allowing the customer more autonomy to do most of the work themselves, most companies could actually find that they need to hire less staff to take charge of cashier and customer service positions – a workforce that is becoming increasingly associated with unreliability and a high turnover rate.
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