The M-Factor for Today’s Omni-Channel Shoppers

Shopping basket in one hand and a smartphone in the other, shoppers are increasingly turning to mobile to do research, compare prices and even make their final purchase. Indeed, 45% of all shopping journeys today contain mobile. And for Millennials, this number jumps to 57%. Almost half of Millennials expect to buy more on their smartphone in the year ahead. Magazine_Thumbnail

But it’s not only about the mobile experience for these shoppers. It’s about having a seamless experience across a variety of channels on the path to purchase. For this fourth post of our series on how mobile is changing the path to purchase, Facebook IQ commissioned GfK to conduct a study of more than 2,400 adult “omni-channel shoppers.” Each omni-channel shopper had researched and bought online in categories—like clothing, consumer electronics, home appliances, home goods and beauty—via a variety of channels—like on mobile phones, tablets, desktops or laptops and in-store.

We learned that m-commerce presents brands with a chance to act—to be bolder, move faster, be adaptive and build a future-ready business.


The “m-factor” is on the rise

Omni-channel shoppers consider the Internet to be an important source of inspiration when it comes to discovering new products and browsing a wider range of brands. These shoppers find that smartphones and tablets offer greater convenience and flexibility for shopping online: 56% say they have made a purchase on a mobile device because they were already using it, and 55% say they use mobile because they can do it anywhere, anytime.

Meanwhile, 60% of omni-channel shoppers say they’ll either start purchasing or purchase more on their smartphones in 2016, and 64% anticipate doing more shopping research on their smartphones.

Mobile is also becoming a bigger complement to brick-and-mortar stores. 61% of omni-channel shoppers expect to use their smartphones more in-store in 2016. Of the omni-channel shoppers who researched product ratings or reviews prior to buying offline, 46% did so on a mobile device (phone or tablet). Of those who compared prices prior to buying offline, 36% did so on a mobile device. And 51% researched a product on mobile while in-store.


But the small screen could work harder

We also looked at why omni-channel shoppers choose other channels and where the mobile experience can be improved. Our findings? There is an opportunity for brands to ease the browsing and buying experience and rekindle the magic of being in-store—on mobile.

Some omni-channel shoppers cite finding it easier to use larger screens as a reason they prefer buying on desktop or laptop over buying on mobile. Some prefer to shop at a physical store because they enjoy the overall experience and like to be able to touch items they are considering purchasing. And some say they don’t want to wait for shipping or pay for the shipping costs often associated with buying things online.

To create a seamless experience for shoppers, brands should understand what drives people to shop online and offline.


What it means for marketers

Omni-channel shoppers are looking for a better experience across all of their devices, but especially on mobile. 70% of mobile shoppers say the website/app experience can be improved, and 71% feel the transaction experience can be improved. Brands that want to reach these consumers will focus on eliminating the barriers that stop people from buying on mobile, like by making it easy to enter payment information, offering multiple shipping options and allowing consumers to complete a transaction without downloading an app.

Create a seamless experience: 54% of omni-channel shoppers say they are more likely to shop with a retailer that makes it easy to buy on several devices. As integrated online/offline shopping becomes the new normal, brands should ensure shoppers’ online experiences are as smooth as their brick-and-mortar experiences and equally as enjoyable.

Don’t underestimate the impact of mobile: Viewing the path to purchase through separate channels—mobile versus desktop versus offline—doesn’t reflect the way the world is changing. The rise in m-commerce presents brands with a chance to rewrite the rules of success by adapting to change and building a future-ready business.

Guide consumers from consideration to purchase: Give people what they want, and design for where they are. Brands can use the power of personalization to help people discover the content, products and services most relevant to them.

Build for visual discovery: As we shift to a more visual language on mobile—one that is made up of photos, emojis, stickers and video—brands will have to rethink how they present product details in a visually impactful way that’s clear yet small-screen friendly.



Source: “Omni-channel Shoppers” by GfK, US only (Facebook-commissioned online study and opt-in panel of 2,407 people ages 18+ who have researched online and bought 1 of 5 key categories in the last 3 months), conducted to quantify key differences in shopping behavior across channels (tablets, mobile phones, PCs, brick-and-mortar retails) and fielded Sep 16–18, 2015.