Best Buy Co. Inc. has found its more valuable customers are ones who don’t just visit the e-commerce site or the bricks-and-mortar store. They also shop using their smartphones and tablets.
How valuable are these customers? The multichannel Best Buy consumer who uses a mobile device makes 15% more e-commerce purchases than the non-mobile consumer, said Chris Moroz, Best Buy associate manager for digital analytics. And, for in-store purchases, the mobile Best Buy consumer is 25% more valuable.
Speaking at the Adobe Digital Summit 2012 in Salt Lake City, Moroz said Best Buy calculated these figures by measuring three sets of data. One was connecting the BestBuy.com visitor data to its database of registered customers. Another was the result of surveys sent to e-commerce visitors who filled their shopping carts, but abandoned the sale. The third was a survey at the point of sale about the consumer’s shopping experience. The data then was screened through digital analytics software from Adobe Systems Inc.
“We found that on any given day a BestBuy.com visitor is more likely to purchase in-store,” Moroz said. Of consumers using a mobile device to visit Best Buy’s m-commerce site, one-fourth were found to make an in-store purchase within two weeks of their visit, he said.
Best Buy, incidentally, fared best in a recent survey by market research firm ClickIQ of the behavior of consumers using smartphones in stores.
To find out what happened after the in-store research was complete, survey respondents were asked to state where they eventually purchased the product they were researching. Best Buy did the best job of retaining the sale. 35% of those that researched at Best Buy ended up purchasing at the Best Buy store with another 14% purchasing at BestBuy.com. However, 21% purchased the product from Amazon.com. The rest did not purchase.
At the conference, Moroz said the next step for Best Buy is to automate much of the data collection process and to get more data about how consumers use Best Buy’s smartphone apps. “The mobile-savvy customer needs to be heard,” he said.
Lynn Lanphier, director, digital analytics, Best Buy Co. Inc., will speak this June at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in Chicago in a session titled “The new age of analytics: Creating a data strategy that leads to increased sales.” And learn more about the Mobile Workshop at IRCE 2012.
Research shows that shoppers are mobile–this article featured on eMarketer explains how consumers are turning to mobile to do product research before purchasing items in-store.
While consumer usage of smartphone and tablet devices for shopping purposes is on the rise, the devices’ place in the purchase path is varied. According to several pieces of research by Google, ForeSee Results and Nielsen, shoppers may start in the mobile channel for product research but then purchase in-store. They also may use mobile for product research on the go, then later purchase online on a PC or tablet.
Nielsen’s Q3–Q4 2011 “US Digital Consumer Report” indicates that 29% of smartphone owners use their phone for shopping-related activities. The top mobile shopping activities include in-store price comparisons (38%), browsing products through the mobile web or apps (38%), and reading online product reviews (32%).
A 2011 post-holiday shopping study by Google and Ipsos OTX also depicts consumers using their smartphones at many different points in the purchase path. For instance, 46% of smartphone users who used their mobile device for holiday shopping said they researched an item on their smartphone then went to a store to make their purchase. And 37% said they researched an item on their smartphone then made their purchase online on a computer. Holiday shopping data indicates that no matter the purchase channel, mobile devices are likely to play a role in a mobile user’s purchase process.
The Google study also shows that 41% of smartphone users researched with their mobile device and went on to actually purchase on the smartphone. That data point is higher than in some other mobile commerce studies. For example, a study released in January 2012 by customer experience management firm ForeSee indicates that during the 2011 holiday season only 15% of online shoppers used their phones to make purchases. The phone was most commonly used as a research and price comparison tool. However, Google/Ipsos OTX studied only smartphone owners while ForeSee looked at online shoppers as a whole, a group that includes many feature phone owners as well.
Whether a consumer makes a purchase via mobile or elsewhere, Google’s industry director for retail, Todd Pollak, told eMarketer that retailers need to improve the way they connect the mobile experience with the in-store or web-based shopping experience.
“You would think retailers would be hugely invested in ensuring you’d have an optimized experience on the mobile device, as well as trying to understand how people use it,” he said. “But consumers are way ahead of retailers in terms of their investment in mobile and how that plays into the purchase process.”
Although the path to purchase may appear unclear as consumers conduct the shopping process across multiple channels, Pollak encouraged mobile marketers to think about factors such as a consumer’s distance from a store and the days and times when mobile usage spikes. For example, tablet usage peaks during after-work hours and smartphone usage spikes during weekend days. Connecting and strategizing based on those statistics will help mobile marketers provide more targeted and personalized campaigns akin to the marketing experiences consumers are accustomed to on the web.