Ogilvy Urges Retailers to Embrace the Mobile Shopper

Shoppers will become increasingly sophisticated in their use of mobile phones to inform buying decisions and facilitate purchases while in the retail environment, according to new research from OgilvyOne and OgilvyAction.

The companies conducted research among 1,500 shoppers in the US, UK, and Singapore. The findings reveal that ‘Innovators’ are advanced users of mobile phones in the retail environment, foreshadowing mainstream consumer behaviour. Rather than regarding these shoppers as potential threats, Ogilvy advises marketers to adopt a mobile CRM (mCRM) approach by shifting their perspective from “armed to charmed” and embrace openness and transparency to build trust and maximize long-term customer value.

85 per cent of Innovators searched Google from a phone while in a store to get information on a product. Already, 24 per cent of the ‘Early Majority’ are doing this, with the number increasing to 40 per cent of the Early Majority who own smartphones. 67 per cent of Innovators scanned a barcode or QR code with a mobile phone, while 13 per cent of the Early Majority are already doing this, increasing to 18 per cent of the Early Majority who own smartphones.

90 per cent of Innovators looked at a product in-store and then ordered it online, while 64 per cent of innovators looked at a product in-store and then ordered it from a phone while still in the retail environment. While 76 per cent of the Early Majority have looked at a product in store and ordered it online, only 14 per cent have ordered it from their phone, suggesting this is an area of potential growth.

68 per cent of Innovators asked a store to match a price by showing a web page from a print-out, while 60 per cent of Innovators asked a store to match a price by showing a web page from a phone. 35 per cent of the Early Majority have asked for a price-match using a web page print-out, but only 16 per cent of the Early Majority have used a phone to display a web page at the point of purchase.

The research also found that “better customer service” and “loyalty points” were the top two reasons that respondents had for checking in to a retail store. 55 per cent of mainstream consumers wanted better customer service, while 50 per cent seek loyalty points, indicating strong consumer demand for mCRM, the practice of building relationships with customers through the mobile channel.

“While the behavior of the Innovators gives a clue of where the mainstream might be headed, it’s the behaviour of the Early Majority that clearly indicates that consumer engagement with mCRM is a trend, not just a fad,” says Phil Buehler, OgilvyOne New York’s head of planning. “We can also observe that mobile activities follow online behaviour, which gives us a good way of predicting where mobile behaviour in the retail environment is headed.”

Martin Lange, Ogilvy’s global head of mobile, adds: “The future of retail is at an interesting inflexion point and marketers should heed the lessons learned from the music industry. Rather than adopt an adversarial approach by taking defensive action, brands and retailers should turn customers from ‘armed to charmed’ by understanding what the unmet shopper needs are and addressing these by offering utility and transparency. What you win is trust, the basis for maximizing lifetime customer value. This has the potential to elevate mobile shopper marketing from being a price-driven, tactical, one-off channel, to become a tool to activate shoppers and build long-term loyalty.”

There’s a a two-minute , filmed in San Francisco, London and Singapore, which explains how consumers are using their mobile device in the retail environment here.