Ten or fifteen years ago if you asked the question “how do people shop in retail stores?” the answer would be rather simple. Stores ran advertisements. People would see them either on television or in the newspaper and went to the store to check it out. Alternatively, people would be out and might wander into a store that looked interesting.
These days with many people having access to smart phones, the answer isn’t so simple anymore. Now when people shop in stores they have instant access to shopping apps or the internet. It makes a huge difference in how people shop these days. According to www.marketingcharts.com, three out of five shoppers with smart phones will use them to comparison shop on the spot or to find specials or coupons online. These are the most popular in-store online search uses among shoppers who use social networks while shopping.
Given the number of shopping apps, bar code scanner apps and check-in apps, this isn’t surprising. A recent commercial for Amazon.com shows this phenomenon exactly: a customer in a store scans a barcode while shopping to see if Amazon.com has it cheaper; another takes a snapshot with her camera phone to do the same; another types in the product name. All of these to instantly comparison shop on the spot. Some stores are aware and promise to price match what people find in order to keep the sales in their stores.
Even if they are out and wander into a store, they are using apps to be sure they are getting the best price. Other apps channel shoppers to certain stores with the promise of rewards, or by providing coupons or other sale information. Apps like Shopkick direct people to certain stores and products in those stores. Online websites like Groupon get people into certain places by having them purchase discounted services or merchandise. Stores discount certain things heavily in the hopes that once in their establishment people will purchase more that aren’t. Either way, the smart retailer uses these things to his or her advantage.
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