Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Shoppers Are Going Mobile

The smartphone has now become a must have for Christmas shopping, helping consumers find where the best deals are. About a decade ago it was the Internet that changed how people shopped.  Now it is the smartphone that's enabling consumers to find the deals before leaving home and then comparing prices while in the malls.  A European survey by the Mobile Marketing Association claims 67 per cent of shoppers (in UK, France and Germany combined) will use their phones for shopping this Christmas, up 23 percent from last year.  Among the highest users are the French, at 82 percent. In fact, Europeans have already embraced payment by smartphone or the smartphone wallet.

Apps like BarCode scanner and ShopSavvy seem to be among the most popular and helped one shopper in Greensboro save $100 in one trip. But it's not just about looking for the best deals.  Shoppers are using their smartphones to find product information and reviews while they are in the store.  A Study by Accenture found that 73% of shoppers with a smartphone favor using it to handle small tasks and product information, rather than interact with an employee in the store. Getting information about a product is easier online where shoppers can also see customer opinions.  If you are a retailer, it has become vital to offer social media interaction with shoppers, whether they are browsing at home or, actually engaged in the shopping trip.  Larger retailers need to take this further with a specific mobile App to make the user experience easier. Overall, the Accenture survey suggests 56% of shoppers with smartphones believe smartphones will make the shopping experience more enjoyable.

There's no question that smartphones are replacing traditional mobile phones and this Christmas is seeing even more sales of actual smartphones.  BestBuy is using social media to offer special deals daily, especially via Facebook. So if you haven't yet purchased a smartphone, you might actually get one for free with a 2 year contract right now.  


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