You can shake your fist at the Internet or use it
Jerry Epperson -- Furniture Today, December 12, 2011
We have been reading several studies on social media and mobile marketing and how these new technologies will impact us all. Now that I am officially elderly, this takes some effort to understand.
After all, only 15% of us old toots over 50 have downloaded apps, while 46% of the 30-49s and 60% of the 18-29s have done so, according to Pew Internet. I take great pride in saying that I have downloaded an app all by myself, and plan on using it someday. Don't know what an "app" is? Ask your grandchild.
I took comfort in one study by EPM Communications titled "How Mobile Devices Are Changing the Way Americans Shop." It states that "contrary to conventional wisdom, for most consumers, mobile commerce enhances the shopping experience at existing retail channels rather than undermining it."
As of January 2011, one-third of teenagers 12-17 owned smartphones and that grows to a peak of 50% of the 25-34 year olds. It then declines sharply by age to the 65+ age group where only 6% own smartphones. Sadly they are not only hapless, they are app-less. These numbers are from Arbitron and Edison Research.
A point that is important is also common sense. Retailers that offer consistent products, pricing and service across all today's shopping media will hold a serious advantage over those who make it "cumbersome" to move among online, physical store and mobile.
According to a Cone Online study, 68% of shoppers will search online for "something I will own/use for many years" - the highest percentage of any response. Sixty-four percent say they will research online for products or features they are not familiar with, and 33% say they do it to make sure their time shopping is "well-spent."
Unquestionably, Americans shop for new furnishings infrequently so they lack knowledge from the last purchase to today. In a similar manner, that same long replacement purchase cycle means they are not as knowledgeable about price. What does the price of bedroom furniture you bought 10 years ago have to do with prices today? It's not like gasoline that we purchase weekly.
Rather than replace existing retailers, it seems today's smartphones and tablets will be used to locate retailers in the vicinity, check if items are in stock, "hunt" for deals that might encourage them to locate retailers they did not know about, look for product information, reviews and prices, or to show salespeople what they are looking for.
In every store, consumers are taking photos and sending the picture to friends to get their input. You see them, I know.
You can either shake your fist at the Internet or you can use it. You decide.
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