By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer
Synchrony Financial, a consumer financial services company, recently announced the results of their 2015 Digital Study, which was focused on how consumers view mobile shopping. The final data shows retailers need to focus on mobile optimization for improved engagement and positive customer experiences. Nearly 7,000 Synchrony Bank cardholders and randomly-chosen shoppers throughout the country were questioned about their view of mobile shopping, what they expect from the experience, and how they currently use mobile devices in the purchase decisions.
For retailers, the data illustrates that, for most customers, possible purchases begin with a smartphone or tablet. Of the respondents, almost 50 percent indicated they were now shopping for products using a mobile device, while 45 percent of respondents said they used a mobile device to do shopping-related tasks such as researching product information, sharing products, purchasing, and reviewing, up four percent from 2014 , and nine percent from 2013. Indeed, mobile devices are integral to many shoppers, as 18 percent of respondents now report using a mobile purchase.
Mobile usage is becoming commonplace when shopping, and in turn, consumer retail habits have shifted, the survey shows. 18 percent of responds now report using a mobile device to make a purchase, which is up from 16 percent in 2014 and 12 percent in 2013. Based on these results, mobile usage for shopping is only going to continue its climb.
Social media has shown its ability to power purchases and drive engagement, as 85 percent of respondents say they access social media, and 45 percent of respondents say they follow brands via social media. 33 percent of all age groups in the survey report they purchased products after seeing it on social media, and Millennials ranked at 52 percent and Gen Xers at Xers. Any retailer that doesn't an active social media channel should take this as a cue to pursue social media marketing for engagement, sales and a better customer experience.
The survey also found that holders of Synchrony Bank retail credit cards are more equipped with the digital technology, and there was a 114 percent growth over 2014 for mobile credit card applications. Mobile logins showed a 58 percent increase and mobile payments saw a 72 percent increase over the same question last year. Results show that customers are increasingly using mobile technology, with 69 percent of the random national sample owning a smartphone, 45 percent owning a tablet, and 37 percent owning both a smartphone and a tablet.
In a press release for the results, Synchrony Financial shares how retailers can satisfy omni-channel shoppers' expectations. Above all, it's important to design a simple and easy mobile experience with an optimized website. Retailers should also look at driving consumer loyalty with custom sale or availability alerts, enhanced wish lists, and drag and drop clipboards.
“It’s clear from our research that shoppers across every segment are becoming more mobile-enabled and savvy, using all digital resources available to them to shop and purchase in and out of the store,” says Toni White, chief marketing officer, Synchrony Financial. “Retailers who focus on creating an integrated customer experience across all channels can differentiate themselves.”