The Changing Buying Patterns of Retail Shoppers

Dileepan Selvaraj

After the initial internet boom in the 1990s, numerous small retailers who closed down their brick and mortar stores and went online did not do very well. But brick and mortar retailers who added e-tailing capabilities did well.

In 2017 not much has changed. Even after mobile apps came into the picture, in-store shopping remains predominant.


But where consumers buy things has not influenced how they decide to buy it.

Consumers still prefer brick and mortar stores to online shopping because the latter simply doesn't satisfy their experiential needs such as novelty from daily routine, self-satisfaction, peer group attraction, communication, and enjoyment of bargaining.

This is where an mCommerce app that doubles as an in-store experience manager becomes important. From the retailers' perspective, the smartphone part of the omni-channel is confined to building a mobile website and mobile apps, mobile advertising, and couponing, mobile customer service, as well as mobile social network management. From the consumers' point of view, the mobile retail app should allow them to create a mobile/virtual shopping list, access a virtual/mobile shopping assistant, search, query, compare, and purchase products and services.


To be useful to your customer, an in-store app should reinforce interactive features in order to deliver customized and tailored information, deals, and events. Specifically, the app should trigger location-based notifications and provide contextual promotions based on consumers' social media activities, track their locations and shopping activities, and capture their interaction.

Small and medium scale retailers thrive on steady and loyal customers; therefore, long-term relationship with customers is critical - so they must think of continuity and personalization through technology.

A survey of over 300 businesses confirms that retailers are investing more in 'in-store' experience applications.'Because, consumers use mobile devices to find brick-and-mortar stores, check price, look for deals, coupons, and offers, and research these before purchase. Also, 70% of consumers check the price of items and 53% of them look for deals via their mobile devices while in the store.

So going forward, retailers should build an mCommerce retail app that doubles itself as an in-store shopping experience enhancer as it is preferred by consumers.

Data Source: PwC