Study: Shoppers turn to mobile phones for bargains and reviews


According to the latest study out of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, over half of all shoppers during the 2011 holiday season used a cell phone to research a product that they were considering. Within the sample of 1,000 American adults, one fourth of the respondents whipped out their mobile phone within the store to look up the price of a product at other online retailers. Twenty-four percent of the group used a mobile phone to check out professional reviews of a product and 38 percent called a friend while in the store seeking advice on the quality of a particular brand or product. 

pew-research-mobile-shopperSpecifically regarding online product reviews, the study found that people that attended college were more likely to research a product through reviews and non-Caucasian people were more likely to research reviews than Caucasians. In addition, people between the ages of 18 to 49 were the most likely to research a product through online reviews while only four percent of people above the age of 65 used online reviews to factor into the purchase decision. Mobile users that lived in urban or suburban areas were also twice as likely to research a product through online reviews compared to rural residents. 

The same groups were more likely to use a mobile phone for price-matching or seek bargains through other online retailers with the Internet browser or smartphone application. Twenty percent of the people that use price-matching have made a purchase through an online retailer more recently than a purchase in a physical, brick and mortar store location. Within the people that did use a mobile phone for price matching, approximately 37  percent decided against buying the product at the store, 19 percent bought the product through an online retailer and eight percent purchased the item at another store location. Only a third of the people conducting this type of research actually bought the product within the original store.

While some shopping malls turned to mobile phone updates to lure in more holiday shoppers, a startup called Signature Labs just released an iPhone application that’s designed to turn the mobile phone into a virtual personal shopper. Utilized by a retail store, the app connects customers with retail sales associates by allowing messages between the two parties as well as a way to setup an appointment for a future visit. The sales associate can setup the application with the customer’s favorite brands as well as sizes or other preferences.

When the customer enters the store, the application can also fire off a greeting about those brands and products. The app can also send notifications from the store when sales are coming up or when a new product  has hit the store shelves. While Signature Labs is currently looking for more retailers to use the service, interested consumers can sign up for the service and create a profile using Facebook Connect. There’s only one store on the service at the moment, clothing retailer 7 for All Mankind.

leaked target black friday ad includes 298 40 inch tv 99 blu ray player blackfri 1 1128 dcg 22472 jpgOver the last year, Target has attempted to fight back against shoppers that use mobile phones for price matching and research by asking manufacturers to create Target-specific products. These products use stock-keeping units (SKUs) that are unique to Target and typically don’t pop up during research when a customer is investigating online. It also halts smartphone owners from simply scanning a barcode to comparison shop through applications like RedLaser and ShopSavvy

As mentioned in a recent Wall Street Journal article, Target and other big-box retailers have previously voiced frustration about customers using retailer locations to view a product in-person, otherwise known at “showrooming”, and returning home to purchase the product online through a less expensive retailer like Amazon. In a recent letter to vendors, Target executives are requesting more exclusive products as well as more competitive prices. In addition, Target dropped hints about a subscription service for regularly purchased merchandise likely identical to Amazon’s “Subscribe & Save” service. Online sales grew by 15 percent during the 2011 holiday shopping season while physical retailers only saw a four percent bump in growth. 

Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…

All the Best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…

Ford teams up with Walmart to study consumer response to autonomous delivery

Last week it was Ford and VW, and this week Ford and Walmart are signaling a desire to work together on autonomous vehicles solutions. Ford and the giant retailer will study consumer reactions to self-driving delivery vehicles.

Bigger than Black Friday: Don’t miss the best Single’s Day deals

Thanks to AliExpress, Single's Day – the world's largest retail day – is no longer a foreign affair. If you're ready to do some early holiday shopping or want to score some discounts ahead of Black Friday, we've rounded up some of the…

Samsung patents show what Infinity-O display could look like on Galaxy S10

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Product Review

With style and feature upgrades, Misfit's next-generation Vapor 2 gets it right

Misfit’s next-generation smartwatch, the Vapor 2, packs built-in GPS, a heart-rate sensor, and more, into a beautiful design that starts from $250. We take a closer look at the company's latest device.

The best protective iPhone cases to defend against dirt, dings, and drops

If you’re going off-road or work outdoors, it could be a good idea to invest in a tough case. These are our picks of the best protective iPhone cases for all iterations of the iPhone, from the iPhone XS to the 7.
Social Media

Build a wish list and shop videos with Instagram’s latest shopping update

Eyeing a product on Instagram? Now there are more ways to shop from the social network. Instagram just rolled out options to save products in a collection as users can also now shop from videos.

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Social Media

Addicted to Instagram? Its new ‘activity dashboard’ is here to help

Ever get that nagging feeling you're spending too much time on Instagram? Well, a new "activity dashboard" has a bunch of features designed to help you better control how you use the addictive photo-sharing app.

Best iPhone 7 Plus screen protectors to shield your big, beautiful display

Cracked screens are expensive to replace. Fortunately for you, we've rounded up what's available in terms of protection for Apple's large iPhone 7 Plus. Here are the best screen protectors you can buy.

Four fake cryptocurrency apps were listed on the Google Play Store

It is a dangerous time to be going after crytocurrency on Android. Four bogus cryptocurrency apps were spotted on the Google Play Store this week, according to a report from cybersecurity researcher Lukas Stefanko. 

New sensor from L’Oréal tracks UV exposure to keep your skin safe from the sun

L'Oréal has announced a new wearable sensor that attaches to your clothing and can track ultraviolet light. The sensor uses NFC instead of Bluetooth -- meaning it doesn't need a battery to work properly.