Mobile: How To Be There And Be Useful For Shoppers

Mobile has forever changed the way people shop. A shopper’s smartphone is there for them anytime, anywhere in countless moments. The question for retailers is: Are you prepared to meet these shoppers in the moments that matter most?

A decade ago when looking for ideas and inspiration, a shopper would either go online, browse a catalog, or walk the store aisles. When in-store, a shopper would learn more about a product and either head to the cashier or head home to buy online. The point is that a shopper interacted with channels independently. People now get ideas, look up information, and make decisions, all from their smartphone anytime, anywhere. It’s no wonder that searches for “near me” have doubled in the past year.

  • Six in 10 internet users start shopping on one device but continue or finish on a different one
  • 82% of smartphone users say they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store
  • Foot traffic in retail stores has declined by 57% in the past five years, but the value of every visit has nearly tripled

ATTENTION: Shoppers buy on mobile too! People today make buying decisions on their mobile while waiting in a queue, walking the dog, watching TV or commuting to work. And these decisions are not just about a $2 chocolate bar, but a $300 camera or even a $3000 dress.

The fact is: In this mobile-fueled shopping landscape, the retailers that thrive see the opportunity to be there and be useful for shoppers in what we call moments:, those intent-rich moments when people turn to their smartphones or other devices to know, go, do, or buy something.

More About Those Moments

“I Need Some Ideas” Moments

In these moments, people are at the early stages of thinking about what it is they want or need to buy; they’re looking for ideas and inspiration. And in these moments, they’re often turning to Google to explore their options and discover brands. This is prime opportunity for retail marketers to step in and bring their brand and products into the consideration set.

  • 66% of apparel smartphone shoppers turn to Google for ideas about what to buy
  • 90% of smartphone users say they aren’t absolutely sure of the specific brand they want to buy when they begin shopping

So, how can you help them make their decision by showing them why you’re brand is a great option?

  • Ensure you show up; If you want to be included in the consideration set, you need to be there not only when people search for your brand, but also when they search on category terms related to the products you carry.
  • Mobile design; Be sure that your mobile site experience itself enables you to be useful in the I need some ideas moments.
  • Imagery; Images are one of the quickest and easiest ways for people to get an idea of your products, so if you run Shopping campaigns on Google, ensure you’re uploading quality images and relevant titles into your product feeds.
  • Video; Creating video content for mobile that inspires and provides useful information is key to engaging shoppers. When it comes to building video content, be authentic to your brand and provide utility and inspiration in ways that are unique to you.

“Which One Is Best?” Moments

Shoppers constantly search for the best: best product, best price, best reviews. As today’s shoppers narrow their options, comparing, contrasting, and conducting further research, they enter the realm of “which-one’s-best” moments, and mobile makes comparison shopping all the easier.

  • 59% of the online population is making more informed decisions about what to purchase now versus a few years ago
  • Mobile searches related to “best” products grew by more than 50% year on year
  • Eighty-eight percent of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • The number of product review videos on YouTube grew 50% year on year

How to win these moments?

  • Feature product reviews; Let others speak on your behalf. Stars on your ads make your products stand out. Here’s how you can start generating more customer reviews
  • Promote your best sellers; promote your best sellers to help guide those who may not know the difference and how to distinguish between brands and stats.
  • Feature products in context; It’s easier to sell products when they’re shown in use. Do this through multiple images or video.

“I Want To Buy It” Moments

This is the moment the consumer chooses you. And whether or not the purchase happens on mobile, these moments are increasingly influenced by mobile. Shoppers have already researched, compared, and prepared, and they’re finally ready to put dollars behind their decision. Although the vast majority of retail purchases still happen in-store, mobile’s influence over these purchases is rapidly growing. Whether shoppers turn to mobile to buy, or to simply get that final piece of information before heading to the cashier, it’s crucial to show up with a fast, frictionless mobile experience. If your site is clunky or slow, a shopper could abandon it—or even worse, head to a competitor.

  • 64 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores is influenced by digital
  • 76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a business within 24 hours and 28% of those searches result in a purchase

How to win these moments?

  • Speed it up; Many retailers’ conversion rates on desktop are 2X as high as mobile conversion rates because the purchase process on many retailers’ mobile sites is still clunky. Page load time and streamlined experiences are important.
  • Resurface promotions, deals and coupons at checkout; decision-making online is sometimes all about price, deals, and vouchers. If they have to spend time hunting for these they will leave. Avoid this by providing these offers or discounts immediately at the checkout.
  • Provide multiple checkout and fulfillment options; People want convenience and simplicity. Allow first time buyers to purchase before account creation. Give people options for payment and pick-up.

When it comes to shopping, the smallest moments have the biggest impact. And for retailers, this means being there and being useful for shoppers anytime, anywhere. Shoppers rely on their smartphones now more than ever. From searching for ideas, to comparing which one’s best, to finally deciding on the right one, they turn to mobile in all of these shopping moments.

How can you shift your strategy to keep up with mobile’s growing influence on the customer decision journey?

Organise For The Moments

It’s important to take action on the team level: test new types of ads, build new content, improve your mobile site load time, and so on. But the small stuff can only take you so far. Real change involves your whole company agreeing to take a unified approach to giving shoppers the experience they need and expect.

  • Create a cross-functional steering committee to allocate resources and influence budgets.
  • Align incentives and performance goals among IT, marketing, product and finance teams.
  • Get the Technical Director and Marketing Director working closely together.

Identify Your Brand’s Moments

There are big differences between how people shop, and it’s important to know what the typical purchase journey looks like for your industry and business. What kinds of moments do people in your market have? Break them down by “I need some ideas”, “which one’s best”, and “I want to buy it” moments.   

Measure The Moments

Many digital marketers use last-click attribution and cost-per-acquisition as metrics for online success in a desktop world. The tendency is to try and make them the basis of measurement for moments as well. But mobile introduces an entirely new set of behavior across devices and channels that requires you to measure beyond the last click or the online sale:

  • Look at the share of intent; the number of times your brand appears for searches in the moments where you want to appear the most.
  • Measure the impact of cross-device and cross-channel marketing.


The bottom line: The future of retail lies in the smallest moments. It’s no longer critical for a shopper to be present in-store, but rather, for the store to be present wherever the shopper is. Are you there?

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  1. […] provide an experience that is useful for mobile shoppers. Colin Williamson of Reef Digital shares some tips for doing so in this […]

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