These days, it’s a common scenario: A consumer walks into a store to test drive, try on, or take a peek at a product. But instead of making a purchase, the consumer whips out her smartphone, presumably to seek out a better price online.
This phenomenon, known as showrooming, can befuddle brands that rely on brick-and-mortar sales. But a good mobile content strategy can turn showrooming on its head to persuade consumers to purchase.
Take the auto industry. Like other industries, the auto industry is feeling the profound effects of mobile. Car shoppers are spending twice as much time watching mobile video content—test drives, walk-throughs, and features tours—this year versus last, according to Google. In fact, 69 percent of car shoppers who watched a video on YouTube were influenced by it, more so than TV, newspapers, or magazines.
Moreover, shoppers are conducting about 50 percent more mobile searches at car dealerships from last year, Google reports. Half of all car shoppers with phones use them while at the dealership. The number one thing they’re searching for isn’t surprising: price. Smartphone users want to confirm whether they are getting a good price on a vehicle, Google found, and they conduct searches for Kelley Blue Book and competing dealers more often when at the dealership.
Of course, price shopping isn’t unique to the auto industry. Research has shown that 90 percent of smartphone owners use mobile technology while shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, according to a SessionM report that the Content Standard covered previously. Comparing prices, looking up product information, or checking reviews online were the most likely reasons to cause users to reach for their smartphones, according to the report.
On its face, consumers’ ability to access a wealth of product information at any given moment can be intimidating for companies. But brands can use this new environment to their advantage when armed with mobile-friendly digital marketing tactics and a mobile content strategy.
Brands can start by doing some thought experiments on how to best meet consumer needs as they shop. At the car dealership, how can dealers make it easier for customers to do things they want to do, like search for prices or trade-in value? At a shoe store, how can retailers make it easier for shoppers to find product reviews or styling ideas? At a department store, can users scan barcodes to get more information?
Amazon took the mobile bull by its horns with its first brick-and-mortar bookstore. Instead of displaying prices below each book, users scan a placard barcode to see the current price on Amazon.com, plus access the wealth of reviews and other information available from the online retailer. In essence, Amazon is forcing consumers to do what they already want to do when they shop in a store—check prices and get more product information online.
Whatever they do, brands shouldn’t shun the mobile-wielding consumer. J.D. Power’s New Auto Shopper Study found that negative dealer reaction to smartphone use tended to impact users negatively, whereas dealers with positive or neutral reactions to smartphone use tended to engender more positive feelings of dealer transparency, according to WardsAuto.
These days, users are expecting to get any information they need to make a purchase in a matter of taps, at any time of day. As mobile usage grows further, the onus is on brands to get that information available to consumers in a mobile-friendly format. If users can’t find the information they need within a few taps, they’ll go elsewhere—including to the competition.
For more ideas about how to tell your brand’s story, check out Skyword’s eBook on the future of brand storytelling.