A blog series on Shopper Marketing.

By Cyndi Pyburn

One in five or 21% of today’s consumers use mobile devices in stores to assist with their shopping according to a survey of 3,000 consumers in Canada, the US and the UK undertaken in September 2013 by loyalty management firm, Aimia.  Interestingly this study identified 5 types of mobile shoppers.  A quick summary of the m-shopper universe in CANADA:

  1. The Exploiters – 4.6%: Strategically practice showrooming (visiting stores to preview products) with the explicit intention of later purchasing online.  Skew:  females motivated by lower price, free shipping, and loyalty rewards.
  2. The Savvys – 11.7%: Information-seekers using their smartphones in-store to price compare.  Skew:  Younger males who are digitally-attuned shoppers utilizing scanning, bar codes or online search for mobile coupons.
  3. Price Sensitives – 16.2%: Motivated by deals, they inconsistently use mobile devices in-store indicating that they are not yet in habit of using the internet to find lower prices pre-shop or in-store.
  4. Experience-Seekers – 24.7%: Have participated in showrooming in the past year but it was not planned in advance.  Skew: Young adult shoppers owning mobile and tablets with data plans.
  5. Traditionalists – 42.8%: Do not use mobile devices when making purchase decisions and are therefore more influenced by the in-store experience.  Skew:  Older females who rely on advice from family & friends.

What does this mean for Canadian retail?  With 42.8% Traditionalists (versus 28.3% in US and 19.2% in UK), showrooming has yet to take substantial hold.  Higher data plan costs and lower discount opportunities within e-commerce in Canada means slower adoption rates.  But we can learn from those ahead of the curve.  Bricks & mortar may still reign in Canada, but blindly accepting this scenario in an omni-channel world sparks danger.

As Canadians move along the adoption curve, retailers with exceptional in-store experiences, coupled with great websites, e-commerce capabilities and one-to-one digital offers (that personally connect) will continue to win the ‘retail battlefield’.