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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : April 01, 2011

Nearly half of mobile users shop via their device

The increase in shoppers brandishing mobile devices means retailers can't afford not to have a mobile presence, finds new research by Arc Worldwide, and those that do provide mobile apps and websites must ensure they meet the high expectations of today's on-the-go consumer.

by Helen Leggatt

logos__0013_Arc.jpgAt the end of last year, research from Brand Anywhere and Luth Research found that while over half (51%) of shoppers are more likely to purchase from retailers with mobile websites, only 4.8% of retailers had one.

With the meteoric rise in smartphone ownership, those retailers risk losing mobile phone wielding customers lured to other outlets by mobile websites and apps.

New research from Arc Worldwide, the marketing services arm of ad agency Leo Burnett, found that near on 90% of Americans age 18 - 64 now brandish a mobile phone, and 50% are using them to shop.

Of the 1,800 U.S. mobile shoppers surveyed for the research 80% were found to be "light" mobile shoppers, who use their phones less often than the 20% of "heavy" users that many mobile apps are geared toward. As smartphone penetration increases and the mobile channel becomes more mainstream, the "light" shoppers will be the ones to nurture.

"While heavy mobile shoppers have entirely driven the growth specialized tool for shopping thus far, the growth in the future is going to come from light shoppers who have a very different outlook toward mobile today," says Arc Worldwide's research.

"Engaging them, and as a result, winning in the future, is going to require a very different approach than what may have attracted the current group of heavy mobile shoppers."

The message to marketers is to promote mobile channels as one would promote websites - on signage, in-store, in traditional media and via apps. Those that don't push mobile channels could see customers lured elsewhere.

Furthermore, mobile channels must live up to high consumer expectations. Recent research from Tealeaf revealed the vast majority of consumers (85%) believe mobile transactions should be every bit as reliable and easy as those done via computer.

"It's now absolutely critical to focus on optimizing the mobile user experience," said Mike Brown, vice president of Optimization at "To do that, one needs to really grow the realities of your mobile customer experience, as well as have the ability to test and refine it on an ongoing basis."

Tags: m-commerce, mobile phone, mobile shopping

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