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The end of sales assistants?
Most shoppers prefer phones over salespeople

mobile-vs-salesmanIn a further sign that an effective mobile presence is now absolute requirement for retailers – even predominantly brick and mortar stores – a recent study has found that a majority of shoppers would prefer to get product information through their phone rather than by speaking to a live sales assistant.

This information was contained in a report that the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) recently released titled “Enhancing the In-Store CE Retail Experience Using Mobile Devices”. The survey covered several

Product information

Overall more than half (58 percent) of shoppers who use smartphones said they would prefer to get product information from their phone rather than by talking to a sales assistant.

In addition, almost 2/3 say that the information they can get from the internet is more beneficial than that available in store from displays or product literature.

Product types for mobile shopping

Mobile shoppers use their phone more frequently when they are shopping for electronics (60 percent) than any other product type.
Following electronics, the other top categories are:

  • groceries (55 percent)
  • apparel (47 percent)
  • shoes (45 percent)
  • health and beauty products (39 percent)

How mobile helps

In terms of the type of shopping assistance the shoppers were looking for, these were the top activities for electronics shoppers:

  • compare prices (63 percent)
  • read customer ratings or reviews (52 percent)
  • search the Internet for more information (51 percent)

Finding product information on mobile

As finding additional product information is clearly a key use of mobile, the survey also investigated the information sources that shoppers used most frequently.

Approximately seven out of 10 shoppers (69 percent) said they do general internet searches. Following this are 3 other key sources of information:

  • store-specific website (52 percent)
  • store-specific app (47 percent)
  • a manufacturer-specific website (46 percent)

Privacy, Security, and Sharing

Although mobile usage is very high, consumers have two big concerns about using mobile: privacy of their personal information (61 percent) and security (58 percent).

At the same time, shoppers do see the benefit of building a relationship with a retailer, and over 80% of them would be willing to share some personal data if they received benefits in return.

“Current location” was the data most likely to be shared (48 percent), followed by “user profile information” (46 percent), and “personal contact information” (40 percent).

“Mobile devices have significantly shifted consumers’ shopping behavior,” said Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis, CEA. “Retailers are increasingly focusing on delivering a complete consumer shopping experience and mobile devices are now a vital piece of that puzzle.”

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