Rebecca Huntley Columnist

Rebecca is a director of The Mind & Mood Report, an author and social commentator with a background in publishing, academia and politics. She holds degrees in law and film studies and a PhD in Gender Studies.

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Ten things your customers are doing with smartphones

Published 22 January 2013 18:16, Updated 30 January 2013 22:00

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Ten things your customers are doing with smartphones

Apps are now a part of doing business, but don’t forget that customers are using smartphones to talk about your company. Illustration: Rick Nease

I’ve written a number of columns over the past few months about the role of mobile devices in consumers’ lives, particularly when it comes to purchase decisions.

Some of my favourite statistics to quote to clients are taken from a study Ipsos did last year with Google called Our Mobile Planet, which reflect the now central role of the mobile in purchasing behaviour.

  • Of those surveyed, 94 per cent researched a product or service on their phone.
  • Twenty four per cent intentionally take their mobile shopping to compare prices and inform themselves about products
  • As a result of information gathered using their smartphones, 22 per cent have changed their minds about purchasing a product or service in-store.

I only expect the numbers of people using mobiles in the retail environment to increase this year. In fact, this year I expect to see mobile taken to new heights, better apps and potentially better use of Twitter by retailers and brands as well.

Ipsos Loyalty global head of customer experience John Carroll sent me an article he’d written this week entitled “10 things you don’t know about how customers use smartphones”. By “you” he didn’t mean “me” of course. We’ve observed Australians doing many of the 10 things he singles out, for some time.

The two “things” Carroll points out that I don’t think we’ve seen enough of in Australia are using them for discounts and coupons and using them to store loyalty and membership card details.

In a report we did on loyalty in 2010, we found consumers were over having too many loyalty cards and having to scramble to locate them at the checkout.

These following comments show that there is a limit to how many loyalty programs people are willing sign up for if it means chaos in your purse or wallet:

  • “I have a lot of cards. I went into this baby store and bought something and they offered one and I was like, ‘No, I’ve got enough cards’.”
  • “Loyalty cards take up so much room in your purse!”
  • “How many cards can you have in your wallet?”

Anyhow, here is Carroll’s list to consider.

10. Consumers are using their smartphones to create lists – grocery lists, to-do lists, wish lists, bucket lists. Whatever list it is, they’re on their devices, building and sharing lists, taking photos and gathering information, and keenly working to make things happen.

9. Sometimes, they’re just passin’ the time. Maybe while waiting in line, or for an appointment, they’re using their smartphones to kill some time by looking through social networking sites, playing games, listening to music, view texts or emails, read product reviews or maybe to complain about why they’re stuck waiting.

8. They’re researching everything! Whether in a store, at an event, or a business meeting, they are pulling out their smartphones to find anything and everything possible about the products, places and people they encounter.

7. Location, location, location! Consumers are using their smartphones to let friends know where they are by checking in on various social networking sites – be it a concert, the office, a restaurant or the mall.

6. They’re using smartphones to get discounts, deals and coupons. The increasing popularity of mobile coupons is no coincidence!

5. They’re brand hunting! Consumers are using their smartphones to find you, where your product/service is available, the quickest/easiest way to get their hands on it, and what others are saying about it.

4. More and more consumers are making mobile payments on their smartphones. The technology is there and consumers are adapting.

3. More consumers are storing their loyalty and membership cards on their smartphones or using company apps to help them do so.

2. They’re doing even more research! But in this case, the consumers are using their smartphones to research products and brands – checking and sharing reviews and getting input from their peers on their thoughts and experiences.

1. Consumers are using their smartphones to talk about you! And they’re not holding back. Whether it is to their own social network, responding to your surveys, or contributing to a review site, consumers are giving loads and loads of feedback and commentary on the products and services they are shelling out the money for.

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