My wife and I are in the process of moving to a new house that just so happens to have the perfect place for a new TV. I don’t generally need any convincing to buy new technology, so as soon as my wife got out, “I think we need a new T…” I already had my phone out to start searching.
As we all know, using a mobile device to shop is catching serious tailwinds. In any case, I came across a few interesting learnings going through the process of finding a new TV, so I’d like to walk through my customer experience.
Searching for success.
It’s been a couple years since we last bought a TV. We have a Vizio that we like, and it didn’t break the bank, so I was hoping to duplicate that feat in some fashion.
My quest started where many do, with a mobile search on Google. (Mobile stat to be mindful of: in 2011, nearly 80 percent of smartphone users visited search sites; mobile paid search budgets grew 220+ percent during Q1 2012, accounting for 12.3 percent of total search advertising spend). One of the first results that popped up was a 47-inch LED Smart TV. Nice TV, and since I’ve always associated Wal-Mart with saving money, I clicked the link to check it out.
A frown quickly ensued, as I hit a brick wall and wasn’t able to find the product I was looking for. At this point, I could have done a search on the Wal-Mart mobile site, but this small hurdle had me second guessing the Wal-Mart route, so I moved on.
Going big box.
I typically end up buying all my large electronics from a big box retailer, so I decided to go straight to Best Buy’s mobile site. In the back of my mind was something I’d heard about in-store pick up, so I started salivating over picking up a new TV that night. Surprise, surprise; the site was unavailable on a Sunday afternoon. Go figure.
With that option out of the question, I decided to go straight to Vizio site to see what I could find out. Unfortunately, the site wasn’t optimized for mobile and I lacked the patience to zoom in and out searching for information. It’s about this time that I started thinking the stars were not aligned for me to buy a TV right then and there.
As a last-ditch effort, I decided to go to the source that typically provides the best mobile shopping experience: Amazon. After a quick search, I found the TVs that fit my criteria. I compared a couple that interested me but ultimately made my decision based on customer ratings. Amazon already had all my payment information, so after I logged in, I quickly made the purchase and begin waiting for its arrival. Success!
As a marketer specifically interested in mobile, here’s what I find interesting about my mobile TV-buying experience, which I can only assume was very typical. Wal-Mart and Best Buy had a chance for my business before I went to Amazon. In many ways, I would have preferred to purchase from them so I could pick up the TV that day (Have I mentioned I can be very impatient when it comes to electronics?). However, I hit small mobile shopping snags that nevertheless were big enough to send me searching elsewhere. Fickle? You bet.
It seems to me that this current landscape should motivate retailers rather than frustrate them. It’s important for marketers to understand where mobile fits in the typical customer’s purchase path. There is an immediacy to mobile search. The customer is either following a spur-of-the-moment impulse to know something now, or is actually ready to visit or buy on the spot. Two retailers had that chance with me and missed. The third let me take the next step with one-click simplicity that took me from consideration to purchase in minutes. All from my mobile device.
I think we can all appreciate the growing threat brick-and-mortar retailers are facing from the rise in online and mobile shopping. Competition is tougher than ever. With people price shopping in store via mobile, it presents an unbalanced situation with regard to online retailers who don’t have to carry the same overhead.
If as a retailer you’re committed to providing the best experience so you can capture every precious sale, no matter the channel, success will follow. To ensure that success, retailers should be considering how to line up their mobile experience to support their physical location so both become strong selling points for impatient shoppers like me in this new mobile-oriented world.
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