The trend of social media is undeniable, but the driving force behind the phenomenon is the smartphone, and other devices with instant text, voice and video communication. A recent study by Deloitte (News - Alert) revealed it is also the new driving force of retail sales.
Comparison shopping apps developed by e-tailers such as Amazon let consumers compare in-store products while they are in the store shopping. This type of instant access to information means getting customers inside your stores, and will not translate into sales at the counter if your price is much higher. This new trend is backed by a study from the Yankee Group (News - Alert) in which 46 percent of U.S. customers are using their smartphones for comparison shopping while they are in the store.
The study by Farsite Group adds to previous studies by including the impact of social applications has in making decisions on in-store purchases.
The study by Farsite is designed to leverage the information to present statistical modeling to determine behavioral patterns online and on mobile devices, to try and give retailers location-based insight. If the data is used correctly, it can by analyzed along with market research and shopping patterns to help retailers understand their customers and provide the products they want.
Gathering this type of personal information and using it to influence the user with advertising or other methods can flirt with privacy violations.
The trend of using smartphones to purchase items is a global phenomenon, and other countries are using this technology with more frequency than in the United States. This is because smartphone ownership is higher at almost 75 percent, compared to 41 percent in the U.S.
“Mobile shopping is undoubtedly the next frontier for online merchants, and emerging markets have been quick to adopt it, but the burning question is whether merchants can successfully tap into these markets,” said Phil McGriskin, chief product officer for WorldPay. “The rapid-growth economies of India, Brazil and China are particularly ones to watch out for from a mobile perspective, with consumers in these regions demonstrating a clear preference for shopping on these devices."
In order to take advantage of all the data being gathered by social media, surveys, customer service and products reviews, the information has to be analyzed. Big data analytics is a complicated process and if the right metrics are not used all the information in the world will not benefit your industry.
The goal of acquiring all this data is to give you the ability to make the best decision for your organization so you can stay one step ahead of your competition.
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Edited by Braden Becker