How does the average shopper experience your brand on her phone? That question should be a guide for your marketing efforts in the coming years.

According to a new report by retail consulting firm BRP, 41% of consumers plan to increase how often they shop on their phone or tablet within two years.

The report is based on a survey about shopping habits overall — not grocery shopping habits alone — but the findings are still relevant.

After all, the plethora of fast food options has certainly influenced what kind of products shoppers demand in grocery stores, leading to tremendous growth in fresh-cut and prepared foods sections, and the popularity of e-commerce in non-food retail sectors like clothing, books and electronics has prompted the rapid rise of grocery pickup and delivery services.

We know shoppers are looking for convenience, and the BRP report indicates that for many people convenience is not just important but a make-or-break factor.

The firm found that 67% will choose a store based on the availability of mobile coupons and 64% will choose a store based on product information availability via a mobile device.

BRP found that many retailers are already working to realize the opportunities those preferences present.

“Improving the mobile shopping experience is a top priority for 41% of the retailers surveyed,” BRP wrote in its report. “While the main goal of mobile technology from a retailer standpoint may be to drive sales, it is also the conduit that bridges the convergence of the digital and physical experiences.”

Across retail but especially in grocery, the ultimate purchase may very well happen in a physical store — but the shopper journey starts long before that.

“Mobile apps/websites are critical to customer engagement as customers research and shop across multiple channels,” BRP wrote. “Even if the final purchase occurs in the store, most purchases are influenced by digital features. Providing information is helpful to customers as they research and shop.”

Features that survey respondents indicated would be helpful are item availability (53%), product information (51%), customer service (47%) and coupons and discounts (40%).

If you’re working on improvements to your mobile website or app, consider the following: What are the most frequently asked questions your company receives, and how fast can a shopper find the answers to those questions on her phone? Anticipating what a shopper will need is key to being able to provide a fast and therefore convenient experience.

Some shoppers are so focused on convenience that they are comfortable with mobile identification when they walk in a store so their experience can be personalized — 39% indicated as such. Retailers are embracing that opportunity, with 61% planning to use WiFi, 42% planning to use beacons and 55% planning to use other technology for that purpose within two years.

Discounts and special offers will be the key drivers to get more shoppers on board, with the survey indicating that consumers prize loyalty points or dollars (41%), specialized offers and discounts (34%), product incentives (27$) and credit toward future purchases (26%).

Retailers and suppliers would do well to keep those incentives in mind as they look to learn more about their shoppers by gathering data from them.

While giving price breaks to do so may not seem particularly appealing, one way to lessen the expense could be to get creative about pricing. Experimenting with different price presentations — $0.99, 2/$2 and $2 Buy One Get One, for example — and seeing how shoppers respond is a great way to study which form of a price best communicates value to them.

With shopping on the mobile phone becoming more and more the norm, it makes sense to focus resources on how your brand appears there.

And if you think millennials are on their phones all the time, just wait until Gen Z gets here.


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