Australians are well and truly embracing technology as a new way to shop, with nearly 40 percent having used a smartphone or tablet to compare prices and find a better deal, new research shows.
The number of consumers using technology to compare prices has risen in the last six months, with more men (44 percent) now using technology to get a better deal compared with women (33 percent), according to a survey by the Australian National Retail Association (ANRA).
ANRA CEO Margy Osmond believes the data is evidence that the online world has significantly changed the way consumers approach shopping.
“We have known for some time that Gen Y and X are bargain hunters, and now they are employing their smartphones and iPads to hunt down deals, but the use of gadgets is now growing across the board,” she said.
Osmond said while almost half of young Australians (41 percent) have downloaded an app to help them shop, the rising number of men using technology is surprising.
“While 22 percent of us have used iPad or phone apps – 25 percent of men have, which has added a new dimension to how retailers will use it,” she added.
The research also found it’s not just young men more likely to turn to a computer of phone to get the best deal.
“Its not always the purview of the very young, 50 percent of 25-34 year olds check the net for a deal while at the shops,” Osmond said.
Osmond said the figures show that retailers need to address the challenges posed by the online world, as the number of consumers using technology in the buying process rises rapidly.
“Late last year 27 percent of people used technology as a price comparison tool instore, while of those 79 percent chose to shop elsewhere as a result,” she added.
Here are three ways retailers can drive more purchases, both in-store and online:
1. Write detailed product descriptions
A high percentage of all purchases, both online and offline, are researched online beforehand. The best way that we can help consumers through the purchase decision is by providing them with as much information as possible.
If you sell identical products to your competitors, use unique descriptions rather than those provided by the manufacturer. This will set you apart from the competition and (when used with other SEO tactics) can increase your likelihood of being found on search engines.
2. Post user reviews
These are a very powerful method of conveying information about products. Consumers are more likely to trust peer reviews over company or expert reviews. Amazon.com is a great example of a company that uses reviews across many categories and actively encourages each customer to provide reviews for their purchase. They also use ‘was this review helpful?’ surveys as a means of assessing review quality. Many retailers worry about the potential for negative reviews, but academic studies have shown that the number and quality of reviews have a greater impact on Amazon.com sales than the actual star rating itself.
3. Using video
Video is another very powerful and engaging method of conveying information to consumers. We love video and consume it in great quantities. The rise in smartphones and the ability to watch video on our mobile phone means consumption of online video will continue to increase. Video conveys information in a quick and easy to understand format that works well for many products, such as fashion and personal goods.