Almost three quarters of German consumers would like to use their smartphones during the instore shopping process, or are already doing so, according to a new study.
72% of 7,000 people surveyed said they were open to retailers communicating with them via mobile, and wished to make use of point of sale technology to help inform purchases.
Price-related promotions were most popular, with 47% happy to receive special offers and discounts. 43% expressed an interest in accessing detailed product information, while a further 43% wanted the possibility to reserve or arrange delivery via their smartphone instore.
The survey, commissioned by Internet World Germany and carried out by online marketing research institute Fittkau & Maaß Consulting, questioned people about their interest in using mobile devices in shops, department stores and malls.
It found that just under a third – 32% – would like to navigate stores and shopping centres using their smartphone as a route planner, for a more simplified and efficient experience.
Meanwhile, 28% said they consider making payment via smartphones in retail outlets realistic in the near future.
Findings also highlighted concerns around the increased integration of smartphones in stores. Almost two thirds (61%) of German consumers are unsure about data security, and 31% felt they were being monitored. 41% – mainly younger users under 20 and those over 50 – stated it was annoying to receive promotional or advertising messages on their phones while shopping.
“The fusion of online and offline worlds will lead to a lasting change in our shopping habits,” said Nicole Rüdlin, Head of Internet World Germany. “As consumer demand for information, convenience and incentives grows, smartphone technology in retail stores is becoming more common. A clever mobile strategy doesn’t end with a mobile website – retailers must pursue a sensitive, integrated approach up to the point of sale. While the study found concerns about privacy and data security issues, the majority of German consumers are open to mobile being part of their retail experience. The greatest challenge for shops will be to find the right balance of desirable information.”
The study found that almost two thirds (64%) wish to use their devices on shopping trips in order to compare prices and offers, while 43% would like to access product ratings and reviews.
Results revealed a clear gender division. Men are significantly more interested in using smartphones for product and price comparisons than women. Product preferences are also divided – whereas men tended to access information on technical and DIY products, women showed more interest in searching for information on food and clothing.
18% wanted information on current promotions such as events, while one in four would like to be alerted about such services on their mobile upon entering a store. Overall, women tended to be more open than men to promotional offers on their smartphones.
“This is not only new terrain for retailers, but also for the consumer,” added Susanne Fittkau from Fittkau & Maaß Consulting. “Half of the smartphone users surveyed feel it still needs some getting used to, for example issues of installation of required apps.”
A third of consumers said they found the idea of receiving advertising from local retailers direct to their smartphone appealing.