Consumers prefer mobile assistance to sales associates

mobile marketing
If consumers can’t find an answer quickly online that is to their liking, 98% will move on or just give up.

As many as 77% of consumers rely on a mobile device when shopping in-store, significantly more than the 35% who prefer to speak to a sales associate when they have questions about a product. 

According to a study by Salsify, the need for informed product content has never been more essential, as even in-store shoppers are turning to digital for information. For those surveyed, 87% agreed that rich, accurate and complete product content is very important when deciding what to buy. 

Peter Crosby

“We are a digital-first society and that extends across almost every landscape. The need for rich and accurate online product content has never been more important as more and more shoppers turn to their phones to answer questions about products while in-store,” Peter Crosby, head of marketing communications at Salsify, told FierceRetail. 

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Referring to the study, Crosby says that it was surprising to find that if consumers can’t find an answer quickly online that is to their liking, 98% will move on or just give up. 

“The call to action for both brands and retailers is clear—product content, including product photos, descriptions and reviews, need to meet the demands of today’s shoppers or they’ll lose both the in-store and the online sale,” he added. 

Mobile is growing in importance for online shopping as well. According to the survey, shoppers between the ages of 18 and 29 are most likely to use a mobile device when shopping (84%), followed by shoppers ages 30 to 44 (78%). 

Reinforcing the need for good product content, 50% of surveyed consumers have returned an item they bought online because it did not match the product description. Then, 54% of those who returned items are less likely to buy from that vendor again.

Visual content is also important, as 70% of shoppers need to see at least three product images and 86% want to read at least three product reviews before purchasing a product. 

When it comes to better engaging consumers via digital content, Crosby refers to the “rule of three”: nearly three-quarters of customers want to see at least three photos when shopping and almost nine out of 10 like to read at least three reviews before selecting a product. Therefore, retailers and brands should ensure their products have the right photos and reviews to give shoppers enough context on the products they wish to purchase. 

In addition, Crosby says not to forget integrating mobile into the physical store experience through two important steps: One, by making sure there is access to the internet in every store. This could include a WiFi landing page with a customized message offering exactly what shoppers are looking for. Two, by providing a digital experience in-store that provides the info shoppers need, including product pages, reviews and inventory, which can all be displayed in-store.