Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Use of Smartphones by Bargain-Hunting Consumers is Changing the Customer-Retailer Relationship

A global survey by Accenture on mobile devices and shopping shows that smartphone users would find it useful to download money-off coupons to their phones (79 percent), and receive instant money-off coupons as they pass by an item in a store (73 percent). Conversely, fewer than half (48 percent) of smartphone users have downloaded a coupon from their PCs. The survey results highlight how the growing use of smartphone technology and the economic downturn have encouraged cost-conscious consumers to explore alternative retail channels, such as online and smartphones, to secure bargains.

According to Accenture, the findings of its study of 1,000 consumers in 10 countries suggest that couponing could become a more important part of the retail experience as smartphone technology becomes more widespread, and if retailers are adept at using customer analytics to target messages and deals to consumers. Notably, 48 percent of conventional cell phone users plan to buy a smartphone in the next 12 months.

The results of the survey also indicate that smartphone technology is changing the relationship between customers and retailers. Many smartphone users said that they prefer using their mobile device rather than interacting with a store employee for simple tasks. According to the survey, 73 percent favor using their smartphone to handle simple tasks compared to 15 percent who favor interaction with an employee. Similarly, 71 percent favor using their smartphone to identify a store with a desired item in stock, while 17 percent would prefer to get that information by speaking to an employee.

Privacy, however, remains a key concern of consumers, and could have a negative impact on the growing use of smartphones for shopping. More than half of respondents (54 percent) worry that using smartphones will erode their privacy. Among the other smartphone shopping concerns voiced, 59 percent of respondents fear losing the personal touch from store employees, and 39 percent believe that products would get more expensive.

Among the additional survey findings:

--69 percent of smartphone users are aware of smartphone applications from large retailers and 48 percent have downloaded at least one application,

--90 percent of consumers who have downloaded an application from a large retailer found it “very useful” or “useful”,

--56 percent believe smartphones will make the shopping experience more enjoyable.

More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at www.CRMindustry.com.

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