Mobile tools are a dominant force in consumers’ path to purchase, from beginning to end. Consumers rely heavily on their devices from early moments of inspiration through to conversion; more than half of Gen X, Gen Z and Millennials have researched and purchased a product via their smartphones in the last 30 days. For more on this data, Gartner clients should see Elevate Marketing Impact by Accounting for Consumers’ Mobile Shopping Acumen.
Mobile optimization continues to challenge marketers, and many treat mobile as an afterthought — simply a pared down version of the desktop site. Condensing all that rich product information into smaller real estate is a persistent challenge, but mobile offers opportunities that desktop cannot in assisting consumers throughout their path to purchase.
At the outset, tools like Pinterest’s visual lens let consumers capture images in their offline lives and translate them to shoppable online content, cutting out time and friction. While Instagram’s shopping capabilities are evolving quickly, the platform still redirects traffic from visual stimulus to mobile websites, with a lot of potential for friction in the process. If a consumer tries to follow an influencer’s product post and lands on a homepage rather than the product itself, that’s an all-too-common missed opportunity.
Further down the decision-making path, AR tools help mobile app users “try on” products, like Sephora’s Virtual Artist features, or ensure they order the right sneaker size, like the Nike Fit measurement tool. IKEA’s and Target’s apps “place” furniture in a home for shoppers to get a sense of how it looks before ordering online.
Even basics like location-enabled store finders are helpful tools to lead consumers to brick-and-mortar locations. Some stores, like The Home Depot, go further to guide consumers to the right shelf space to find their item and access more info than what fits on a shelf tag.
Top to bottom, mobile tools offer retailers more chances to drive deeper engagement with consumers, as more shoppers show preference for mobile over desktop in their purchasing journey. For more consumer retail trends, see “Consumer Outlook: Retail in 2020″ (subscription required).