Showrooming has changed and as well, the responses to this behavior have changed accordingly.  A mere three years ago the entire retail industry was in full panic mode because they had just begun to realize that shoppers were pulling out their smartphones in their store and, cue gasp, actually looking elsewhere to make the purchase.

Initial responses to this phenomenon ranged from doom to confusion and everywhere in between.  But a few smart marketers started wondering how to leverage this change by consumers in order to turn it into retail gold.  And some of them have succeeded.
Thanks to these retailers, we have seen some of the most innovative and creative developments in retail in over a century through the advent of proximity marketing, beacon technology, mobile geo-targeting and the like.  And you can be sure that this list will only continue to grow.  Once retailers resigned themselves to the “fact” of in-store mobile usage, the mother of invention began to express herself.
In 2015 in-store mobile usage is a significantly more prevalent, and accepted by retailers, than it was 3 years prior, but shoppers have also evolved somewhat as have their usage habits.  InternetRetailer recently profiled two studies that purport to show how mobile in-store usage has changed.  We have summarized some of their findings here:
According to one study commissioned by SessionM, a provider of mobile loyalty technology, “65% of consumers use their mobile devices during the shopping process to search for coupons, compare prices or to create or access a shopping list. Only 15% say they buy consumer packaged goods from their mobile phones. But that could increase, as a third expect to make a mobile purchase of these goods this year.”  That study goes on to say that 82% of consumers says they prefer to shop for these everyday purchases in stores versus online, regardless of whether its via a desktop or mobile device.
A different study by Retale, a provider of mobile circulars to consumers, looked at how young parents (18-34) used their smartphones to shop.  At the highest level, 85% of respondents said they use their smartphones to help them shop while in physical stores.  That is a telling statistic for brands keen to understand this emerging generation of millennial parents. 
That same study found that while both Moms and Dads use their phones in-store, they use them quite a bit differently.  “Dads most often use their smartphones to check product reviews (53%), compare prices (52%) and find nearby stores (50%). Moms are most likely to search for coupons and deals (66%), access saved coupons (62%) and compare prices (62%). Only 42% of moms say they use their phones to check product reviews, while 49% of dads say they use their mobile devices to search for coupons and deals.
76% of moms and 64% of dads say they are likely to make a purchase with a coupon or deal they receive to their smartphone while in or near a store. And 45% of moms and 32% of dads say they are very likely to purchase with such an incentive.
40% of millennial moms and 22% of dads say they never shop without a deal, while 19% of fathers and only 5% of mothers say they rarely or never take advantage of deals.”
So what is the bottom line?  In-store mobile usage is here to stay and, dare we venture, is the norm.  But retailers do need to be aware of the acute differences in the ways that consumers use their mobile devices and the motivations behind that usage.  Knowing consumer personas that are driven by understanding their needs, will allow marketers to craft interactions with their brands that are relevant and personal.

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