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Feeding the Mobile Sharks [Infographic]

Today’s consumers are no longer the innocent guppies that they used to be. The swiftness with which they use mobile to research products and deals before purchase can make any marketer feel as if he’s swimming with sharks. Instead of fearing customers’ increasingly mobile-first mentality, marketers should embrace it and make in-store and online experiences as seamless as possible.

Brick-and-mortar stores are a feeding ground for bite-sized mobile interactions. According to “The Local Mobile Advantage of Retailing” report by G/O Digital, the digital division of media company Gannett, 90% of consumers say that smartphones are the easiest devices to use while shopping in store—swallowing the 5.1% who prefer to use laptops and the 4.2% who prefer tablets. Searching for coupons is the most popular mobile shopping activity to do on smartphones and tablets (35.86%), followed by accessing shopping lists (25.61%), buying items online (12.05%), and browsing deals and sales (10.32%). Still, when given the option, 50.7% of shoppers say it’s easier to do their bargain hunting on their computer.

When planning a purchase, 81.1% of consumers compare prices when they’re in market, 73.3% search for coupons, and 70.5% research items before buying, according to the report. When it comes to fishing for coupons, 49.2% of shoppers only look for deals when they need something specific, 43% search for offers right before they purchase online, and 39.3% prey on promotions in their free time.

Even for offer-hungry consumers, coupons aren’t always enough to hook a sale. When it comes to purchasing items they’ve been eyeing, 39.6% of shoppers will wait until they go on sale, according to the report, and 29.6% will only buy them if they need them. Twenty-three percent of respondents will wait until they’ve finished comparison shopping before making a purchase, but a mere 7.8% say they’re more likely to purchase items because of a coupon.

In fact, the right bait varies across categories. For instance, sale items (29.8%), quality (26.4%), and everyday low prices (20.7%) are the biggest purchase hooks for grocery shoppers, according to the report. Alternatively, reviews and recommendations (54.4%) far outweigh other motivations—such as sale items (21.1%) or branding (15.2%)—for electronic retailers. In addition, 60.7% of consumers say having items on sale or clearance is exactly what apparel and shoe retailers need to clench a sale.

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