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Blessing in disguise
Sustaining brand relevance with the connected consumer

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In Focus
Blessing in disguise

Mobile has been cast as the villain in
retailers’ showrooming nightmares
– but the latest Mobile Life study
suggests it could yet be one solution
to their problems
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In Focus
2
Blessing in disguise

Getting the best possible deal is a fundamental part
of shopping. Human beings have bartered, browsed
and vowed to “come back later” for as long as there
have been a choice of shops to visit. However, the
Internet has shifted the balance of power decisively in
their favour. And in recent years, it has even started to
explode the long-standing principle that people come
to shops in order to buy things.
Showrooming, the tactic of visiting a store to examine
a product with the intention of buying it elsewhere
later, is particularly cruel on retailers. It’s not enough
that the likes of Amazon and eBay should undercut
their prices; now, it seems, consumers are using the
retailers’ own expensively maintained stores to help
them do it. Best Buy, the world’s largest consumer
electronics retailer, has estimated that 40 percent
of visitors to its stores have no intention of buying
anything – at least, not from Best Buy.
At times, the response has seemed desperate.
A specialist gluten-free grocery store in Brisbane,
Australia, made headlines when it started charging

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customers $5 to visit the store, only reimbursing the
money when they actually completed a purchase.
Best Buy’s own response was more measured – but
still represented a fundamental shift in its business
model, inviting brands to set up their own boutiques
within its stores and sell to customers directly,
assuring them that they are getting the best price.
Retailers’ nightmare scenario?
Mobile technology tends to be viewed as the final
straw in the showrooming saga, making it easier than
ever for shoppers to seek out better prices elsewhere
and undermining the authority of sales assistants on
their own turf. Amazon certainly sees the opportunity,
having launched its price check app to scan prices
in local stores and compare them to Amazon’s best
offer, which can of course be ordered with a single
click. Just as significantly, perhaps, mobile threatens
to carry the showrooming phenomenon to new
markets that were previously protected by a lack of
mainstream Internet access, presenting global retailers
with an ever more pressing need to come to terms
with the challenge.

In Focus
3
Blessing in disguise

The 2013 edition of TNS’s Mobile Life study confirms
that over a fifth (21%) of phone owners worldwide
have used their handset for showrooming. However,
far from leading the showrooming stampede, mobile
technology in many respects offers retailers the
chance to reassert influence over it. Analysis of the
mobile services of most interest to shoppers suggests
that encouraging mobile use in-store could prove to
be retailers’ salvation.

% of mobile usage among showroomers
71

60
54

44

36

33

21%

33

29
30

28

21

19

10

7

of phone owners worldwide have used their
handset for showrooming.

10

8

9
5
6

4

Global

Developed
Asia

North
America

Europe

China

Lat Am

Emerging
Asia

MENA

SSA

India

64%

61%

55%

56%

77%

64%

75%

87%

67%

86%

All those who showroom

Those who use their mobile when showrooming

In Focus

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All those who showroom

Those who use their mobile when showrooming

4
Blessing in disguise

The mobile showrooming disconnect
The nature of showrooming varies significantly from
market to market and generation to generation. And
contrary to many retailers’ expectations the influence
of mobile on this behaviour is felt least strongly in
those markets where showrooming itself is most
established – and most feared.
Whilst 33 percent of mobile owners showroom, only
just under two-thirds of these have used a mobile
when doing so – and this gap between general
showrooming habits and mobile showrooming
behaviour is widest in developed markets. In
Developed Asia, only 61 percent of showroomers
have engaged in mobile showrooming; whilst in
North America and Europe only around half of
showroomers have.

mobile is the trigger for showrooming behaviour to
emerge: 87 percent in Middle East and North Africa,
86 percent in India, 77 percent in China,
75 percent in Emerging Asia, and 67 percent in
Sub-Saharan Africa.
When frequency of different types of showrooming
behaviour is taken into account, in-store shopper
analysis suggests that mobile’s contribution to
showrooming may be lower still. Few shoppers
pause in their journeys around the aisles to look
up prices or reviews using their handsets – findings
that suggest that, while many are familiar with the
potential for using a mobile to aid showrooming,
most do not often choose to do so, particularly
in low involvement categories, e.g. when grocery
shopping.

33%

of mobile owners showroom

2/3

of these have used a mobile when doing so

In many ways, mobile’s limited share of
showrooming in developed markets is a legacy of
long-established online PC access, and the shopping
habits that this has embedded. In markets where
Internet access was a rarity until the arrival of webenabled handsets, our data shows evidence that

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In Focus
5
Blessing in disguise

The reason can be found in the trade-off of time,
money and angst explored in previous Mobile Life
studies. For a showroomer, using a mobile in-store
potentially adds to the time and angst involved – as
many feel more exposed and awkward standing
in front of a product looking up prices than they
would if they simply examined the product and left.
The Mobile Life figures show a generational divide
emerging: younger phone owners are more inclined
to use their mobiles as showrooming devices of
choice, whereas over-50s seem more comfortable
comparing prices and buying products online from
a PC, either before or after their trip to a store.

Remove friction:
Save shoppers time
Tailored promotions:
Save shoppers money
on what matters to them
Enhance the experience:
Save shoppers angst

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In Focus
6
Activities in the mobile path to purchase - Global

At home In store

Mobile purchase

24
21
16

16

15

Research at home

Read reviews
in store

Compare prices
in store

Save shoppers time

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Scan barcode for
more product info

Check social media
buzz about product

14

13

13

16

16

15

15

15

11

Redeem a
mobile coupon

Scan QR code for
more product info

Receive updates
from places of
interest near me

Receive a deal
by interacting
with an ad

Save shoppers money on what matters to them

9

Access product info
by touching phone
against a sensor

Take notes of
product details
in store

Share photo or
video of product
with friends

Access a stored
list of products
previously

9

8

Scan QR code to
pay for product

Scan barcode to
pay for product

Purchase product
online via mobile

Pay for product by
touching phone
against a sensor

Save shoppers angst

In Focus
7
Blessing in disguise

Less premeditation means more opportunity
Where shoppers are content to stick to PC-based
showrooming, retailers are themselves stuck – since
PC-based showrooming is inherently inflexible. A
PC showroomer is likely to have decided in advance
that their trip to the store is for research purposes
only (since they have either already established that
a better price is likely to be found elsewhere, or they
are committed to comparing prices online at a later
point). A mobile showroomer is not so bound, since
their research can be conducted on the spot and
their decision-making influenced. Where mobiles
take control of showrooming they make it more
accessible, more spontaneous and less premeditated.
Mobile showroomers are open to revising their
purchase decisions on the spot – and this can work
either against the store in question or in its favour.
Only 8 percent of all showroomers have actually
purchased the product they are researching using
their phone (one of the nightmare scenarios
envisioned by retailers proving far less common
than many suppose). And many who set out to

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showroom may actually complete purchases in the
store they are standing in, if this helps to save them
time, money and angst. A mobile in the hands of a
potential showroomer can represent an enhanced
opportunity for a retailer, if that retailer can provide
the showroomer with the reassurances they demand
– and convince them that it is worth saving time by
completing a purchase there and then.
The reassurance that showroomers seek
The information that mobiles provide to
showroomers fall into two broad categories:
reassurance on price and reassurance on suitability.
And in each case, a retailer has the potential to add
its voice to the mobile sources of information that a
showroomer uses.
For price information, potential showroomers can
turn to other retailers directly, or to third-party
comparison services; for reassurance on suitability,
the mobile forms a channel for seeking the opinions
of family and friends. In each case, the contribution
of the phone could take the form of accessing

information online, soliciting views via social media,
using advanced Smartphone shopping apps – or
simply making a call.
Showroomers in emerging markets make the
broadest use of their mobiles to guide final purchase
decisions, often through tasks that do not require
an Internet connection but could be completed via
a text-based service or phone call. Showroomers in
India and Emerging Asian countries are significantly
more likely to use a mobile to ask friends and family
what they would recommend; those in Sub-Saharan
Africa are amongst the most likely to use their phone
to take pictures of products for later reference; and
those in Sub-Saharan Africa, India and Emerging
Asia are among the most likely to check the
availability or range of products at another retailer –
or ask that other retailer for advice.

In Focus
8
Blessing in disguise

NA

E

DA

I

C

EA LA

M

S

31

32

25

34

49

34

33

23

40

36

To ask my friends or family what they would
recommend buying

25

16

24

20

42

30

49

26

43

19

To take a photo of the product or note down
product details to help me remember it for later

23

22

22

26

20

21

17

24

45

30

To look up product information or comparisons

15

18

11

20

17

16

6

13

29

20

To check product availability at another retailer

14

18

10

12

26

15

12

15

34

20

To check if it was easier/more convenient to order
the product online

14

15

12

18

5

16

8

12

31

10

To check the range of products at another retailer

13

14

11

14

19

13

19

13

42

21

60
54

Europe

71

Developed Asia
5
36

China
Emerging Asia

G

33

North America

India

where showroomers use every potential mobile
function less than the global average – and appear far
more deeply attached to showrooming using a PC.

To compare prices with another retailer

Global

In contrast, shoppers in developed markets are
generally more likely to check options for buying
products online. The exception appears to be Europe,
Use of mobile in showrooming

Incidence of showrooming behaviour

10
29

Lat Am
MENA

10

To receive advice or information from another retailer

10

8

7

8

16

13

12

14

34

17

SSA

9

To purchase the product via an app or website while
I was still in the store

8

7

4

7

17

11

5

9

20

10

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In Focus
9
Blessing in disguise

Interest in innovative mobile shopping services – Global
Developing an in-store mobile strategy
Rather than undermining the traditional path to
purchase, an enhanced role for mobile in-store
promises to interrupt the showrooming journey,
making all relevant information available in realtime – and pushing shoppers towards a purchase
decision. In this sense, the most effective strategy
for retailers lies in working with the way that their
target audience uses their phones – and aiming to
provide the types of reassurance that they turn to it
to provide.

Opportunities to engage with shoppers

22

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11

App to check product availability at store outlets

11

21

Service or app to help navigate a store

10

21

Receiving a mobile coupon for watching a mobile ad

10

Receiving a mobile coupon for answering a survey

10

Mobile coupon that shows up when you pass that product in a store

9

App or site for shopping tips/recommendations

When mobile owners upgrade to Smartphones,
their appetite for innovative shopping services
doubles – and significantly, the services they
are most interested in are those that involve
new opportunities for retailers to engage with them,
and prompt them towards purchases. This suggests
immediate strategies that retailers can adopt to
maximise engagement and capture and convert
potential showroomers in addition to other
mobile researchers.

Receiving mobile coupons based on interests/past purchases

9

Interactive screen in store where you can select coupons / offers and beam them to your phone

8

App to keep track of contents of refrigerator

7

App or site to ask questions to brand/store reps while shopping in store

7

Ad that shows up on mobile when you walk past a product in store

7

12

App suggesting meal recipes while grocery shopping

7

13

Non-Smartphone owner

20
19
19
19
17
15
13

Smartphone owner

In Focus
10
Blessing in disguise

Demonstrating competitiveness
Competitive pricing is an essential starting point for
meeting the showrooming challenge – but mobile
solutions have a key role to play in emphasising
competitiveness and delivering offers and discounts
at the moments when they will deliver the greatest
returns. More than a fifth of Smartphone owners
are interested in receiving mobile coupons based
on their interest or past purchases, or in exchange
for watching a brand’s mobile ad, and 19 percent
show interest in location-based services that deliver
coupons when they pass a relevant product instore. Best Buy has introduced both a price-match
guarantee and a partnership with the barcodescanning app RedLaser, which is designed to push
the best possible prices at those busy comparing
them.

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1/5

of Smartphone owners are interested in receiving
mobile coupons

In Focus
11
Blessing in disguise

Speeding the path to purchase
Enabling the consumer’s journey towards purchase
can help to ensure that this purchase takes place
within the store environment. The process of
smoothing the journey can be as straightforward as
helping to improve in-store navigation (something
21 percent of Smartphone owners want from their
phone). For the most part, however, it will involve
tailoring solutions to fit the demands of shoppers in
different categories.
Location-based alerts and mobile coupons are
particularly significant drivers of behaviour for food
and beverage shoppers, whereas price comparisons
and product reviews are less important to that
category – but particularly significant to those buying
consumer electronics. Peer opinion (often sought
by sharing photos with friends or checking views
on social media sites) assumes greater importance
for those buying clothing and shoes. Working to
encourage and own the sharing of pictures and
video can help fashion retailers to provide the
reassurance sought whilst still emphasising the

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advantages of buying in-store. C&A Brazil has
adopted an innovative solution to incorporating
social media within the in-store environment by
displaying the number of likes that each clothing
item currently has via digital displays on clothes
hangers.
Enhancing the in-store experience
Mobile enables retailers to incorporate digital sources
of information on their own terms – but equally
significant is the demand from shoppers for solutions
that enhance rather than replace the traditional
retail experience. The Mobile Life study emphasises
the continuing importance of in-store assistants.
Shoppers in all markets retain a strong level of trust
for the sales people they deal with face-to-face –
and this gives employees the key role in stressing the
advantages of buying in-store. Amongst Smartphone
owners, 13 percent want apps that will help them
to ask relevant questions of a store’s sales assistants.
Mobile solutions must never become a substitute for
excellent customer service; shoppers expect them to
improve it.

21%

of Smartphone users want instore
navigation improved

13%

of Smartphone users want apps to help them to
ask relevant questions of a store’s sales assistants.

In Focus
12
Blessing in disguise

Ignore the challenge at your peril
Across all markets, advancing mobile technologies
will soon bring the showrooming situation to a head
– and demand that retailers address the challenge.
However, mobile technology also represents a timely
opportunity when it comes to reasserting influence
within the in-store environment. In prompting
potential showroomers to come to a final decision
without leaving the store they are in, mobile is the
most powerful channel at retailers’ disposal for
maintaining control of the path to purchase. It is vital
for their future success that they make good use of it.
As a starting point, the following seven actions
represent a powerful framework for optimising the
mobile experience of shoppers and leveraging this to
address the showrooming threat:

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1
Ensure that digital assets are optimised to work
across platforms, encouraging mobile 	engagement
in-store whilst ensuring a strong share of mobile
browsing in the home

2
Combat showrooming by delivering strong deals 	
in store and leveraging the USPs of a physical 		
store: ‘Pick up product today’, ‘Deal only
available in store’; make WiFi available to
customers and use this as an opportunity to 		
deliver deals

3
Use the mobile to bring social into store, drive 	
greater customer engagement and enable peer-	
to-peer reassurance on purchase decisions; stock 	
items with the strongest online ratings to drive 	
conversion

4
Use the physical retail store as a research hub – give
consumers as much information as possible, build
trust and affinity though this “partnership”, and then
close the sale or convert to your online platform

5
If you can develop efficient mobile payments to 	
save time, money and angst at the till, then do so

6
For emerging markets, make mobile the primary 	
platform for delivery of online services. Ensure 	
online research and purchasing channels are 		
mobile-friendly and cater to a wide range of 		
mobile devices

7
Consumers generally do not see the mobile as a 	
replacement for in-store sales assistants – look for 	
opportunities for the two to work together

In Focus
13
Blessing in disguise

About the Authors
Ryan Versfeld is based in Cape Town and is the AME Connect Development Manager at TNS. In the four years that
Ryan has been with TNS he has delivered insights to a range of international clients and holds particular expertise in
working with TNS’s ConversionModel to define growth opportunities for his clients. Ryan, collaborates with Emily to
deliver Mobile Life and advises a range of clients across the world on mobile and digital, with a particular focus on the
AME region.

You may also
be interested in
Showrooming infographic >
More than a marketing channel - How CMOs
regard mobile >

Emily Gong is a Connect Development Manager based in Singapore who works with TNS digital and technology
specialists across the globe to share ideas, develop new research solutions and manage TNS’s core digital and
technology products.
With a background in media studies, Emily helps clients explore the ways in which technology and new media are
impacting people’s habits and attitudes, and how they can engage and influence consumers at key moments of truth.
Sam Curtis has worked for TNS for six years and is currently a Global Director in the Retail & Shopper practice.
Sam has worked on global projects throughout his career, especially in the areas of mobile, digital and brand
positioning, which has involved extensive experience researching consumers in developing economies.
Zoë Lawrence is TNS’s Global Director of Brand and Corporate Communications. Throughout her career Zoë has
partnered with media, technology and telecoms companies to develop campaigns that achieve impact with their
target audience.

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In Focus
14
About Mobile Life
Mobile Life is an annual investigation into the behaviours, motivations and priorities of the world’s mobile phone
users. Now in its eighth year, Mobile Life is the most comprehensive view of how the world’s consumers are using
their phones today and the opportunities this presents for brands. www.tnsglobal.com/mobilelife
Based on 38,000 conversations in 43 countries, Mobile Life is designed to capture the entire population of mobile
users in each market and includes:
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana,
Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway,
Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain,
Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA, Vietnam.

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In Focus
15
About In Focus
In Focus is part of a regular series of articles that takes an in-depth look at a particular subject, region or
demographic in more detail. All articles are written by TNS consultants and based on their expertise gathered
through working on client assignments in over 80 markets globally, with additional insights gained through TNS
proprietary studies such as Digital Life and Mobile Life.
About TNS
TNS advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and
stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence
in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world’s consumers than anyone else and understands
individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world.
TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world’s largest insight, information and consultancy groups.
Please visit www.tnsglobal.com for more information.
Get in touch
If you would like to talk to us about anything you have read in this report, please get in touch via
enquiries@tnsglobal.com or via Twitter @tns_global

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In Focus
16

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In focus blessing in disguise

  • 1. Connected world Opinion Leader Blessing in disguise Sustaining brand relevance with the connected consumer Share this In Focus
  • 2. Blessing in disguise Mobile has been cast as the villain in retailers’ showrooming nightmares – but the latest Mobile Life study suggests it could yet be one solution to their problems Share this In Focus 2
  • 3. Blessing in disguise Getting the best possible deal is a fundamental part of shopping. Human beings have bartered, browsed and vowed to “come back later” for as long as there have been a choice of shops to visit. However, the Internet has shifted the balance of power decisively in their favour. And in recent years, it has even started to explode the long-standing principle that people come to shops in order to buy things. Showrooming, the tactic of visiting a store to examine a product with the intention of buying it elsewhere later, is particularly cruel on retailers. It’s not enough that the likes of Amazon and eBay should undercut their prices; now, it seems, consumers are using the retailers’ own expensively maintained stores to help them do it. Best Buy, the world’s largest consumer electronics retailer, has estimated that 40 percent of visitors to its stores have no intention of buying anything – at least, not from Best Buy. At times, the response has seemed desperate. A specialist gluten-free grocery store in Brisbane, Australia, made headlines when it started charging Share this customers $5 to visit the store, only reimbursing the money when they actually completed a purchase. Best Buy’s own response was more measured – but still represented a fundamental shift in its business model, inviting brands to set up their own boutiques within its stores and sell to customers directly, assuring them that they are getting the best price. Retailers’ nightmare scenario? Mobile technology tends to be viewed as the final straw in the showrooming saga, making it easier than ever for shoppers to seek out better prices elsewhere and undermining the authority of sales assistants on their own turf. Amazon certainly sees the opportunity, having launched its price check app to scan prices in local stores and compare them to Amazon’s best offer, which can of course be ordered with a single click. Just as significantly, perhaps, mobile threatens to carry the showrooming phenomenon to new markets that were previously protected by a lack of mainstream Internet access, presenting global retailers with an ever more pressing need to come to terms with the challenge. In Focus 3
  • 4. Blessing in disguise The 2013 edition of TNS’s Mobile Life study confirms that over a fifth (21%) of phone owners worldwide have used their handset for showrooming. However, far from leading the showrooming stampede, mobile technology in many respects offers retailers the chance to reassert influence over it. Analysis of the mobile services of most interest to shoppers suggests that encouraging mobile use in-store could prove to be retailers’ salvation. % of mobile usage among showroomers 71 60 54 44 36 33 21% 33 29 30 28 21 19 10 7 of phone owners worldwide have used their handset for showrooming. 10 8 9 5 6 4 Global Developed Asia North America Europe China Lat Am Emerging Asia MENA SSA India 64% 61% 55% 56% 77% 64% 75% 87% 67% 86% All those who showroom Those who use their mobile when showrooming In Focus Share this All those who showroom Those who use their mobile when showrooming 4
  • 5. Blessing in disguise The mobile showrooming disconnect The nature of showrooming varies significantly from market to market and generation to generation. And contrary to many retailers’ expectations the influence of mobile on this behaviour is felt least strongly in those markets where showrooming itself is most established – and most feared. Whilst 33 percent of mobile owners showroom, only just under two-thirds of these have used a mobile when doing so – and this gap between general showrooming habits and mobile showrooming behaviour is widest in developed markets. In Developed Asia, only 61 percent of showroomers have engaged in mobile showrooming; whilst in North America and Europe only around half of showroomers have. mobile is the trigger for showrooming behaviour to emerge: 87 percent in Middle East and North Africa, 86 percent in India, 77 percent in China, 75 percent in Emerging Asia, and 67 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa. When frequency of different types of showrooming behaviour is taken into account, in-store shopper analysis suggests that mobile’s contribution to showrooming may be lower still. Few shoppers pause in their journeys around the aisles to look up prices or reviews using their handsets – findings that suggest that, while many are familiar with the potential for using a mobile to aid showrooming, most do not often choose to do so, particularly in low involvement categories, e.g. when grocery shopping. 33% of mobile owners showroom 2/3 of these have used a mobile when doing so In many ways, mobile’s limited share of showrooming in developed markets is a legacy of long-established online PC access, and the shopping habits that this has embedded. In markets where Internet access was a rarity until the arrival of webenabled handsets, our data shows evidence that Share this In Focus 5
  • 6. Blessing in disguise The reason can be found in the trade-off of time, money and angst explored in previous Mobile Life studies. For a showroomer, using a mobile in-store potentially adds to the time and angst involved – as many feel more exposed and awkward standing in front of a product looking up prices than they would if they simply examined the product and left. The Mobile Life figures show a generational divide emerging: younger phone owners are more inclined to use their mobiles as showrooming devices of choice, whereas over-50s seem more comfortable comparing prices and buying products online from a PC, either before or after their trip to a store. Remove friction: Save shoppers time Tailored promotions: Save shoppers money on what matters to them Enhance the experience: Save shoppers angst Share this In Focus 6
  • 7. Activities in the mobile path to purchase - Global At home In store Mobile purchase 24 21 16 16 15 Research at home Read reviews in store Compare prices in store Save shoppers time Share this Scan barcode for more product info Check social media buzz about product 14 13 13 16 16 15 15 15 11 Redeem a mobile coupon Scan QR code for more product info Receive updates from places of interest near me Receive a deal by interacting with an ad Save shoppers money on what matters to them 9 Access product info by touching phone against a sensor Take notes of product details in store Share photo or video of product with friends Access a stored list of products previously 9 8 Scan QR code to pay for product Scan barcode to pay for product Purchase product online via mobile Pay for product by touching phone against a sensor Save shoppers angst In Focus 7
  • 8. Blessing in disguise Less premeditation means more opportunity Where shoppers are content to stick to PC-based showrooming, retailers are themselves stuck – since PC-based showrooming is inherently inflexible. A PC showroomer is likely to have decided in advance that their trip to the store is for research purposes only (since they have either already established that a better price is likely to be found elsewhere, or they are committed to comparing prices online at a later point). A mobile showroomer is not so bound, since their research can be conducted on the spot and their decision-making influenced. Where mobiles take control of showrooming they make it more accessible, more spontaneous and less premeditated. Mobile showroomers are open to revising their purchase decisions on the spot – and this can work either against the store in question or in its favour. Only 8 percent of all showroomers have actually purchased the product they are researching using their phone (one of the nightmare scenarios envisioned by retailers proving far less common than many suppose). And many who set out to Share this showroom may actually complete purchases in the store they are standing in, if this helps to save them time, money and angst. A mobile in the hands of a potential showroomer can represent an enhanced opportunity for a retailer, if that retailer can provide the showroomer with the reassurances they demand – and convince them that it is worth saving time by completing a purchase there and then. The reassurance that showroomers seek The information that mobiles provide to showroomers fall into two broad categories: reassurance on price and reassurance on suitability. And in each case, a retailer has the potential to add its voice to the mobile sources of information that a showroomer uses. For price information, potential showroomers can turn to other retailers directly, or to third-party comparison services; for reassurance on suitability, the mobile forms a channel for seeking the opinions of family and friends. In each case, the contribution of the phone could take the form of accessing information online, soliciting views via social media, using advanced Smartphone shopping apps – or simply making a call. Showroomers in emerging markets make the broadest use of their mobiles to guide final purchase decisions, often through tasks that do not require an Internet connection but could be completed via a text-based service or phone call. Showroomers in India and Emerging Asian countries are significantly more likely to use a mobile to ask friends and family what they would recommend; those in Sub-Saharan Africa are amongst the most likely to use their phone to take pictures of products for later reference; and those in Sub-Saharan Africa, India and Emerging Asia are among the most likely to check the availability or range of products at another retailer – or ask that other retailer for advice. In Focus 8
  • 9. Blessing in disguise NA E DA I C EA LA M S 31 32 25 34 49 34 33 23 40 36 To ask my friends or family what they would recommend buying 25 16 24 20 42 30 49 26 43 19 To take a photo of the product or note down product details to help me remember it for later 23 22 22 26 20 21 17 24 45 30 To look up product information or comparisons 15 18 11 20 17 16 6 13 29 20 To check product availability at another retailer 14 18 10 12 26 15 12 15 34 20 To check if it was easier/more convenient to order the product online 14 15 12 18 5 16 8 12 31 10 To check the range of products at another retailer 13 14 11 14 19 13 19 13 42 21 60 54 Europe 71 Developed Asia 5 36 China Emerging Asia G 33 North America India where showroomers use every potential mobile function less than the global average – and appear far more deeply attached to showrooming using a PC. To compare prices with another retailer Global In contrast, shoppers in developed markets are generally more likely to check options for buying products online. The exception appears to be Europe, Use of mobile in showrooming Incidence of showrooming behaviour 10 29 Lat Am MENA 10 To receive advice or information from another retailer 10 8 7 8 16 13 12 14 34 17 SSA 9 To purchase the product via an app or website while I was still in the store 8 7 4 7 17 11 5 9 20 10 Share this In Focus 9
  • 10. Blessing in disguise Interest in innovative mobile shopping services – Global Developing an in-store mobile strategy Rather than undermining the traditional path to purchase, an enhanced role for mobile in-store promises to interrupt the showrooming journey, making all relevant information available in realtime – and pushing shoppers towards a purchase decision. In this sense, the most effective strategy for retailers lies in working with the way that their target audience uses their phones – and aiming to provide the types of reassurance that they turn to it to provide. Opportunities to engage with shoppers 22 Share this 11 App to check product availability at store outlets 11 21 Service or app to help navigate a store 10 21 Receiving a mobile coupon for watching a mobile ad 10 Receiving a mobile coupon for answering a survey 10 Mobile coupon that shows up when you pass that product in a store 9 App or site for shopping tips/recommendations When mobile owners upgrade to Smartphones, their appetite for innovative shopping services doubles – and significantly, the services they are most interested in are those that involve new opportunities for retailers to engage with them, and prompt them towards purchases. This suggests immediate strategies that retailers can adopt to maximise engagement and capture and convert potential showroomers in addition to other mobile researchers. Receiving mobile coupons based on interests/past purchases 9 Interactive screen in store where you can select coupons / offers and beam them to your phone 8 App to keep track of contents of refrigerator 7 App or site to ask questions to brand/store reps while shopping in store 7 Ad that shows up on mobile when you walk past a product in store 7 12 App suggesting meal recipes while grocery shopping 7 13 Non-Smartphone owner 20 19 19 19 17 15 13 Smartphone owner In Focus 10
  • 11. Blessing in disguise Demonstrating competitiveness Competitive pricing is an essential starting point for meeting the showrooming challenge – but mobile solutions have a key role to play in emphasising competitiveness and delivering offers and discounts at the moments when they will deliver the greatest returns. More than a fifth of Smartphone owners are interested in receiving mobile coupons based on their interest or past purchases, or in exchange for watching a brand’s mobile ad, and 19 percent show interest in location-based services that deliver coupons when they pass a relevant product instore. Best Buy has introduced both a price-match guarantee and a partnership with the barcodescanning app RedLaser, which is designed to push the best possible prices at those busy comparing them. Share this 1/5 of Smartphone owners are interested in receiving mobile coupons In Focus 11
  • 12. Blessing in disguise Speeding the path to purchase Enabling the consumer’s journey towards purchase can help to ensure that this purchase takes place within the store environment. The process of smoothing the journey can be as straightforward as helping to improve in-store navigation (something 21 percent of Smartphone owners want from their phone). For the most part, however, it will involve tailoring solutions to fit the demands of shoppers in different categories. Location-based alerts and mobile coupons are particularly significant drivers of behaviour for food and beverage shoppers, whereas price comparisons and product reviews are less important to that category – but particularly significant to those buying consumer electronics. Peer opinion (often sought by sharing photos with friends or checking views on social media sites) assumes greater importance for those buying clothing and shoes. Working to encourage and own the sharing of pictures and video can help fashion retailers to provide the reassurance sought whilst still emphasising the Share this advantages of buying in-store. C&A Brazil has adopted an innovative solution to incorporating social media within the in-store environment by displaying the number of likes that each clothing item currently has via digital displays on clothes hangers. Enhancing the in-store experience Mobile enables retailers to incorporate digital sources of information on their own terms – but equally significant is the demand from shoppers for solutions that enhance rather than replace the traditional retail experience. The Mobile Life study emphasises the continuing importance of in-store assistants. Shoppers in all markets retain a strong level of trust for the sales people they deal with face-to-face – and this gives employees the key role in stressing the advantages of buying in-store. Amongst Smartphone owners, 13 percent want apps that will help them to ask relevant questions of a store’s sales assistants. Mobile solutions must never become a substitute for excellent customer service; shoppers expect them to improve it. 21% of Smartphone users want instore navigation improved 13% of Smartphone users want apps to help them to ask relevant questions of a store’s sales assistants. In Focus 12
  • 13. Blessing in disguise Ignore the challenge at your peril Across all markets, advancing mobile technologies will soon bring the showrooming situation to a head – and demand that retailers address the challenge. However, mobile technology also represents a timely opportunity when it comes to reasserting influence within the in-store environment. In prompting potential showroomers to come to a final decision without leaving the store they are in, mobile is the most powerful channel at retailers’ disposal for maintaining control of the path to purchase. It is vital for their future success that they make good use of it. As a starting point, the following seven actions represent a powerful framework for optimising the mobile experience of shoppers and leveraging this to address the showrooming threat: Share this 1 Ensure that digital assets are optimised to work across platforms, encouraging mobile engagement in-store whilst ensuring a strong share of mobile browsing in the home 2 Combat showrooming by delivering strong deals in store and leveraging the USPs of a physical store: ‘Pick up product today’, ‘Deal only available in store’; make WiFi available to customers and use this as an opportunity to deliver deals 3 Use the mobile to bring social into store, drive greater customer engagement and enable peer- to-peer reassurance on purchase decisions; stock items with the strongest online ratings to drive conversion 4 Use the physical retail store as a research hub – give consumers as much information as possible, build trust and affinity though this “partnership”, and then close the sale or convert to your online platform 5 If you can develop efficient mobile payments to save time, money and angst at the till, then do so 6 For emerging markets, make mobile the primary platform for delivery of online services. Ensure online research and purchasing channels are mobile-friendly and cater to a wide range of mobile devices 7 Consumers generally do not see the mobile as a replacement for in-store sales assistants – look for opportunities for the two to work together In Focus 13
  • 14. Blessing in disguise About the Authors Ryan Versfeld is based in Cape Town and is the AME Connect Development Manager at TNS. In the four years that Ryan has been with TNS he has delivered insights to a range of international clients and holds particular expertise in working with TNS’s ConversionModel to define growth opportunities for his clients. Ryan, collaborates with Emily to deliver Mobile Life and advises a range of clients across the world on mobile and digital, with a particular focus on the AME region. You may also be interested in Showrooming infographic > More than a marketing channel - How CMOs regard mobile > Emily Gong is a Connect Development Manager based in Singapore who works with TNS digital and technology specialists across the globe to share ideas, develop new research solutions and manage TNS’s core digital and technology products. With a background in media studies, Emily helps clients explore the ways in which technology and new media are impacting people’s habits and attitudes, and how they can engage and influence consumers at key moments of truth. Sam Curtis has worked for TNS for six years and is currently a Global Director in the Retail & Shopper practice. Sam has worked on global projects throughout his career, especially in the areas of mobile, digital and brand positioning, which has involved extensive experience researching consumers in developing economies. Zoë Lawrence is TNS’s Global Director of Brand and Corporate Communications. Throughout her career Zoë has partnered with media, technology and telecoms companies to develop campaigns that achieve impact with their target audience. Share this In Focus 14
  • 15. About Mobile Life Mobile Life is an annual investigation into the behaviours, motivations and priorities of the world’s mobile phone users. Now in its eighth year, Mobile Life is the most comprehensive view of how the world’s consumers are using their phones today and the opportunities this presents for brands. www.tnsglobal.com/mobilelife Based on 38,000 conversations in 43 countries, Mobile Life is designed to capture the entire population of mobile users in each market and includes: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA, Vietnam. Share this In Focus 15
  • 16. About In Focus In Focus is part of a regular series of articles that takes an in-depth look at a particular subject, region or demographic in more detail. All articles are written by TNS consultants and based on their expertise gathered through working on client assignments in over 80 markets globally, with additional insights gained through TNS proprietary studies such as Digital Life and Mobile Life. About TNS TNS advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world’s consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world. TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world’s largest insight, information and consultancy groups. Please visit www.tnsglobal.com for more information. Get in touch If you would like to talk to us about anything you have read in this report, please get in touch via enquiries@tnsglobal.com or via Twitter @tns_global Share this In Focus 16