As the smartphone industry continues to grow, more and more consumers are taking their shopping habits into the mobile space. For the busy holiday shopping season, that means retailers need to embrace the changing times or else fall behind.
Through ever expanding wireless plans, the Internet is becoming increasingly more accessible for consumers wherever they go. As a result, people are taking advantage by using their smartphones to research, price compare and make mobile purchases.
To prepare, companies like Lowe’s, Best Buy and Toys R Us are all taking steps to ensure the stores have the necessary technology to properly assist and engage consumers. “The shopping experience is in the consumer’s hands and you can’t fight where they’re going,” admitted Gihad Jawhar, vice president of Lowes.com.
Going forward, Lowe’s plans on installing over 42,000 Apple iPhones in more than 1,700 stores across the nation. Armed with the devices, staff will have quicker access to product stock and the ability to price match or even beat a price of another retailer, the company said. Similarly, Best Buy is using mobile technology to help consumers research products and check store inventory as the need arises.
In addition, many retailers are adopting mobile versions their websites in hopes of increasing sales. “Retailers are waking up to the fact that shopping is changing very rapidly. Some wish that weren’t true — they would like to ban smart phones in their stores,” said John Donahoe, chief executive of eBay. “But others are embracing it. They have got to get to where consumers are making their decisions.”
It’s the dawn of a new era, Buffalo. In a recent National Retail Federation survey, 40 percent of shoppers said they own a smartphone, and over half use it to help them with purchasing decisions. In fact, mobile shopping is expected to generate roughly $5 billion dollars in sales through 300 of the nation’s largest websites, according to Internet Retailer, an e-commerce business intelligence group. Likewise, e-commerce holiday sales are estimated to rise 17 percent, or $46.7 billion this year alone.
Do you plan on using your smartphone to help you shop this holiday season?