Mobile is "the new sales clerk"

Mobile Personas finds power of social media a brand edge in driving sales

Brands should focus more on mobile marketing if they want to reach consumers both in and out of brick-and-mortar stores, says a new study showing Canadians spend at least half of their digital screen time on smartphones. The 2015 Mobile Personas Report characterizes shopping as a social activity, where consumers check ratings and reviews, find flyers and coupons, and connect with friends and family before making a final purchase. “Mobile is the new sales clerk,” says Jed Schneiderman, president of Tapped Mobile, one of the study’s co-authors. “Brands and marketers must understand that mobile connects consumers regardless of location.” Schneiderman says companies that ignore mobile “do so at your peril… The phone has become a gateway to the outer world to gather more information and inform how people shop.” The report, put together by Tapped Mobile, BrandSpark International, and App Promo, focuses on three specific audiences: moms, Millennials, and men. It shows 82 per cent of moms ages 25-to-54 use a smartphone, as well as 83 per cent of men in the same age group, and 90 per cent of Millennials ages 18-to-29. Among this cross-section of Canadians, more are using mobile to shop in particular product categories, from food and beverages to clothing and cars. “Mobile helps consumers stay organized, entertained, and informed,” says Mark Baltazar, vice president of brand effectiveness at Brandspark International. The report, which includes results of 4,000 Canadians surveyed last fall, shows growth in mobile usage has led consumers to change their product purchase decisions, especially for lesser-priced items such as groceries or health and beauty products. For example, it shows about 20% of millennials, 25% of men, and 15% of moms surveyed switched to a different brand in the food and beverage aisle based on information searched out on their smartphone. It also says 18% of millennials changed their mind on an electronics purchase after consulting information on their mobile. Consumers are also checking prices and getting feedback from friends on health and beauty products. “Brands must ensure that products are being reviewed and must leverage these reviews for sharing across social so as to be more easily discovered,” says the report. It also shows a correlation between research and price point. The more expensive a product, the more searching consumers do for production information and reviews and to compare prices. For example, roughly one third of Canadians surveyed use mobile devices to research and evaluate what car to buy. The number was slightly higher for millennials and men. “Because risks are higher with higher cost items, Mobile Personas are less likely to change their purchase decisions in the moment using their smartphones,” the report says. “If brands want to charge a premium for their products, they should make sure that potential consumers have sufficient access to product information and consumer reviews on their mobile devices.” The report also shows more consumers are using Android and IOS devices, as Blackberry’s share of the market drops to the single digits. Tablets are also becoming more popular alongside smartphones, stealing time away from desktop computers. Schneiderman recommends marketers build their sites “responsibly,” so they can work on phones, tablets and computers. Still, mobile phones are clearly key. “You have to be found,” Schneiderman says. “It’s not enough to just be on a mobile device. You have to make sure that everything is easily discoverable. If you can’t be found on a phone, you can’t be found.” This article first appeared on

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