Smartphones -the new retail lightsaber?

Jun 23

Smartphones -the new retail lightsaber?

Australian retailers can no longer afford to bury their heads in the sand and hope the online menace will go away. When retail is at a 20 year low and sales are going online and offshore at unprecedented rates, it is time to take stock and think about how to get people back to stores – and buying instore.

Retailers you are going to need your Jedi lightsabers for this one!

Although Australian retailers have to contend with staff and rent being double that of our US cousins, the high margins they are used to (65% on average) won’t be forgiven by punters like me who can look at overseas competitor sites on my smartphone, and order from there too. (Oh, and get delivery in less than a week which is better than some online retailers here.)

As online breaks down international barriers, and world moves to a one ‘real’ price for items (thanks for that thought Gittens), how are our Aussie retailers going to compete?

The good news from Google in a smartphone user study (US) is that what smartphones taketh away, they also giveth…

Smartphones are rapidly becoming popular tools for people to search locally, act quickly and improve their shopping experience.  So can retailers “strikeback” with smartphones?

Google thinks so, but obviously this piece of information is very much in their interest – esp. with the introduction of their latest product, Google Wallet.

As a retail expert I recently spoke to said – ‘It’s not that Australians aren’t buying – its just that shops aren’t making it interesting enough to buy from them’.

The key takeout from this report is that smartphone users are ready to take action – now (or in the next day or so). 9 out of 10 smartphone searches end in action.

The survey found that 95% of smartphone users have looked for location information, with 88% of users acting on this information within one day, often contacting or visiting a business.

Smartphone shopping users are in hunting mode, and they want to get their prey quickly!

The survey also found that 79% of respondents used their smartphones for shopping, and three quarters made purchases either instore – at the shop or on their phones.

One final tidbit: 70% of phones are turned on instore while shopping, showing the phone is often used instore from research to purchase.

With Ebay spending 200+ million in the last year acquiring companies like Milo (that allows people to find out what goods are instock in shops around them), I think the signs are positive for retailers as long as they bide by the omens at large.

Aussie shoppers want fair deals, they are prepared to order online but the overseas trends are saying that people  are also happy to use new technology to direct them to buy instore. Just give them a reason to do it!













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