How mobile shopping is changing advertising
People are on their phones, and they're researching deals
March 7, 2013
It used to be that advertising’s job ended once it motivated people to get off the couch and head to the store. But these days, with people connected to their mobile devices seemingly 24/7, advertisers can continue to reach potential customers even as they are walking through a store, their own or a competitor’s. That’s led to a growing phenomenon called showrooming, which is examined in a new report from Experian Marketing Services. Showrooming is when a potential buyer come in to see something in person and then buys it for less online. In response, retailers are moving to integrate their mobile and brick-and-mortar strategies. For example, Best Buy stores now offer to match online prices so as not to miss out on business. The change in approach comes as mobile becomes increasingly integrated into daily life. Forty percent of tablet owners say they’ve shopped from their tablets in the past month, and 8 percent of smartphone owners have done the same. Among adults 18-34, mobile phones now have the same reach as television. Bill Tancer, the general manager of global research for Experian Marketing Services, talks to Media Life about how important tablets have become to mobile shopping, how retailers should be striving to reach potential buyers, and why showrooming is important.
What did you find most interesting or most surprising about this study?
The most fascinating aspect of this year’s report is just how complex the multi-channel world has become. That complexity ranges from the number of channels, the difference in channel preference by demographic, and how the entire equation is evolving.
What’s the most important thing media buyers and planners can take from it?
It’s clear that now, more than ever, businesses must avail themselves of as much data as possible to reach their consumer at the right time through the appropriate channel.
How much has tablet shopping grown over the past year or two? Are advertisers adjusting their strategies to take this into account?
Tablet shopping has grown commensurate with the rapid adoption of this new device since the iPad’s introduction in 2010. While most growth in online shopping is happening at home and work, the proliferation of smaller form-factor tablets such as the Kindle Fire and iPad mini has led to the growth of shopping in a mobile environment.
What is “showrooming” and what’s the significance for mobile advertising?
Showrooming is when retail shoppers are using their phones in brick and mortar stores to purchase products online and/or check prices.
Mobile advertising could benefit with the use of geo-targeted advertising from retailers to offer deals to consumers once they are near or enter their store. It’s still early in the showrooming trend but we already know that in fourth-quarter 2012, shopping sites accounted for 19 percent of referral traffic on average to the top 500 retail sites.
How can advertisers ensure that they are personalizing their pitches to Millennials and Boomers?
By factoring in the difference in channel preferences by demographic.
Marketers should go much deeper than generational groupings, as channel preference can vary by geography, age, income level, etc. That’s why channel strategy, like Experian Marketing Services’ Mosaic, audience segmentation for groups and types can be so useful when honing a multi-channel strategy.
You note that mobile phones now tie television for reach among adults 18-34. When did this happen, and what’s the significance for advertisers?
This is the first time we have looked at this so we are building out the trend line.
Are there any mistakes or misjudgments that advertisers commonly make about mobile marketing?
One consistent mistake is to consider just the brick and mortar aspects of “showrooming,” i.e. retail shoppers using their phones in bricks and mortar stores to purchase products online.
Showrooming is actually a two-way street, with consumers using sites such as Amazon or other online retailers with reviews to make more informed purchases at a physical store.
Not all purchase decisions are made on price. Some consumers still prefer the immediacy of paying for goods at the register and walking out of the store with their purchases.
How are we witnessing the maturity of the mobile market?
We’re witnessing the ubiquity of the mobile market. That being said, the market is constantly evolving, so there will always be early adopter segments using the latest and greatest mobile device. Google Glass anyone?
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