Online Shopping: Mall Meets Mobile

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Online shopping

The worlds of traditional “brick and mortar” shopping and online shopping are merging in interesting ways, a new survey reveals.

For years now, it’s seemed like retailing was a battle between physical shopping at stores and convenient online buying. Who would win?

Messaging specialist SmartFocus found that both forms of shopping are doing fine, but online shopping is gaining ground.

The firm’s latest survey did find that more than 60% of consumers are increasing their online shopping activities – particularly women shoppers (71% of whom have increased their online shopping), and among millennials.

Nearly half of the millennials surveyed said they spend more time shopping online than in stores. Meanwhile only 27% of those aged 55 and up said they prefer to shop online.

“Showrooming” – or the practice of shopping in stores but buying online – is now an American institution, with over 60% of those in the US admitting that they engage in this practice. More than 70% of them cited price as the reason why.

However, Americans still say they love to shop at a mall or in a retail store — by a 2:1 ratio.

Perhaps developments like location-based marketing and beacon technology – which make it easier for stores to attract and “steer” shoppers using mobile devices – will be a way for traditional stores to do better.

The survey results indicate that 60% of Americans don’t understand these technologies, and SmartFocus sees an untapped opportunity to educate consumers about the advantages of these methods of connecting people with deals on things they want.

It would be ironic if the very things that have threatened traditional retail — such as mobile tech, the Internet and high-tech selling – could one-day be the very things that help stores to revitalize themselves for new generations of shoppers.


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