Five mobile shoppers to watch

Aimia has released a report on mobile shoppers, from those who routinely use devices for research (Exploiters) to those who are more influenced by in-store experiences (Traditionalists).

Mobile-assisted shoppers (or m-shoppers) are a relatively new species in the retail jungle: 21% of today’s consumers use mobile devices in stores to assist with their shopping, according to a new report from loyalty management company Aimia.

The study, which surveyed 3,000 consumers in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., reveals five groups of shoppers who use mobile in varying degrees when it comes to making purchase decisions online and in-store. Below is a snapshot of who these mobile-savvy consumers are, what makes them tick and the implications for retailers.

1) The Exploiters – 4.6% of the Canadian m-shopper universe

Who: Strategic shoppers who admit to practicing pre-meditated showrooming, visiting stores to preview products with the intention of later purchasing online. They tend to skew more female (54%) and have a slightly lower household income (13% fall below $50,000 versus 10% of all m-shoppers).

Showroom motivations: Lower price (69%), free shipping (58%), online loyalty rewards (31%) and online return policies (13%) motivate Exploiters to research in-store and later purchase online.

How to win them over: The report suggests retailers up their digital game and invest in a sound online presence to win over Exploiters, as they are just as likely to search for a product on the store’s website (69%) as they are a competitor’s (77%).

2) The Savvys – 11.7% of the Canadian m-shopper universe

Who: Information-seekers who are often found using their smartphones in-store to compare prices, check for product details and customer reviews. They are more likely to be under 30 years of age and skew slightly more male (58%).

Shopping behaviour: The digitally-attuned shoppers are most likely to engage in mobile-assisted shopping behaviour such as scanning QR or bar codes (45% versus 36% of all m-shoppers), searching online for mobile coupons (47% versus 34%) and paying for products via a mobile app (18% versus 10%).

Achilles heel: More than two-thirds (68%) of these shoppers typically forgo purchasing a lower-priced product online because they need the product right away.

How to win them over: Savvys are more likely to be swayed by a retailer to purchase in-store (even if they entered a store with the plan to later purchase online) if it has an informative website, engaging mobile app and loyalty program, according to the report.

3) Price-Sensitives – 16.2% of the Canadian m-shopper universe

Who: Shoppers who are motivated by deals. They periodically use their mobile devices in-store, but not as consistently as other m-shopper segments, and so are not yet in the habit of using the internet as much to find lower prices pre-shop or in store.

How to win them over: Price-sensitives are motivated to purchase in-store over online if there is a good deal, which can take multiple forms such as a discount on their total shopping bill (81%), home delivery (73%), extended warranties (63%), and loyalty reward points (68%).

4) Experience-seekers – 24.7% of the Canadian m-shopper universe

Who: Experience-seekers have participated in showrooming in the past year, but claim that it was not planned in advance. They’re young adult shoppers, with 28% under the age of 30, and are more likely to own a tablet with a data plan (26% versus 19%).

Mobile behaviour: These shoppers enjoy interacting with brands through their mobile devices, with 37% saying that they use their devices to send brands suggestions for products, 34% have contributed an idea for an in-store experience and 37% rate store experiences.

How to win them over: The report notes that retailers can influence experience-seekers to shop at their store by providing opportunities to provide feedback via a mobile app and website, as well as offering experiences such as exclusive sales events, pre-shopping nights and celebrity appearances in stores.

5) Traditionalists – 42.8% of the Canadian m-shopper universe

Who: Though these shoppers do use mobile devices when making purchase decisions, Traditionalists prefer and are more influenced by the in-store experience. Traditionalists tend to be more female (52%) and they skew older (24% over the age of 55 versus 19% of all m-shoppers).

Mobile interactions: They claim that mobile research never leads them to change course and purchase a product online instead of in-store and typically use their devices to ask for advice on a purchase from their friends and family.

Reasons NOT to showroom: More than a fifth (27%) of these shoppers choose not to shop online because they trust the physical store more. They also prefer shopping locally (34%) and expect better return policies when shopping at brick-and-mortar stores (23%).

The report notes that showrooming is not yet a huge threat for Canadian retailers based on its much larger Traditionalist segment (42.8%) than the U.S. (28.5%) and the U.K. (19.2%). It points to higher data plan costs and lower discount opportunities within e-commerce channels as reasons for the country’s slower showrooming adoption rate.

Check out the full report at

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