How mobile technology is disrupting retail

Consumers are increasingly turning to the internet to find the best deals on their shopping. With technology so easily available, finding out the best price on fashion items, electronics, food and drink has never been easier.

Millennials are leading the charge on a new shopping culture that truly blends the omnichannel world, as they rummage around in their bags and pockets for their mobile phone, switching between online and offline while out in bricks-and-mortar stores.

Price-conscious nation

Recent research of 2000 people from all over the UK showed that 85% of shoppers do some sort of bargain hunting when looking to purchase something. This figure increases to 95% of people aged 16-24, demonstrating the rise of price-aware, savvy shoppers.

The really interesting thing the research found, though, was the way in which people are finding the best deals.

>See also: How Facebook’s buy button will transform the retail industry

Once upon a time, to find a bargain, the customer would have to do independent research themselves, either by going to the shops and manually working their way through all the items to find the best prices, or through recommendations from friends.

This is no longer the case as technology has made it incredibly easy for consumers to check prices online, even while they are out and about. Smart devices are now a mainstay of everyday life, and this can certainly be seen in the way people shop.

Smart devices are making shoppers smarter, regularly accessing the internet on their devices to use online comparison websites, online voucher codes and barcode scanning apps to compare prices against one another.

Enabling the bargain hunt

In fact, the survey found that half of shoppers will use a price comparison site when it comes to looking for a bargain, while four in ten people will use a voucher code in order to save money. This increases to 55% of people using comparison sites and six in ten using voucher codes among the millennial generation.

Despite a lack of interest in bar code scanning apps, with only one in ten millennials using them, it demonstrates how new innovations are continuously being created to help the smart device become a multi-purpose tool for the bargain-conscious.

This increased use of mobile technology is not just to do with the convenience of it and the habits of the modern shopper, but it also comes down to the pricing of products.

Consumers now know that if they spend a bit of time looking around both in-store and online, they can save money on the product that they want to purchase.

The average person will spend 29 minutes in-store looking for the best deal on a fashion item they want to buy, and in extreme cases, one in seven people admit to spending more than an hour in-store looking for that bargain.

And when it comes to savings, a quarter of millennials believe that they can save over 30% on the purchase price by taking to research.

The showroom boom

The showrooming trend has not helped matters either, only further encouraging the use of mobile technology in more bricks-and-mortar stores.

Often, these showrooms won’t even give customers the opportunities to buy in-store, instead pushing them to purchase the items they want online via their smart device, if they cannot wait to go home and buy it then.

This growing phenomenon is being accepted by the younger generation of shoppers who are more comfortable using smart devices for this purpose, as almost a quarter of 16 to 25 year olds admit to using a smart device, whether it is a mobile phone or a tablet, to purchase items online while still in-store.

This goes to show that the line between online and offline is becoming more difficult to distinguish and retailers need to take this into account when targeting their customers.

In the build up towards Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas, retailers need to make sure that they have all bases covered so that they maximise these opportunities for increased sales.

Retailers need to become aware of this shift in the shopping landscape and tailor their pricing strategies to match customers’ needs. Thanks to the ease with which we can access the internet, pricing is a lot more transparent than before, and so retailers risk losing out on business if they do not adapt to newer pricing strategies.

>See also: Mobile commerce – a market on the move?

Retail pricing of the future

It is due to these changes in shopping habits that dynamic pricing will be the future of retail pricing. Whether it is on food and drink, or clothes and fashion items, dynamic pricing can make a tangible impact on a business’s sales numbers and bottom line.

In the age of Amazon and Uber, dynamic pricing is becoming the new standard in retail and beyond. Indeed, consumers are already accustomed to its application in the travel and leisure industries.

The digital natives – millennials – are becoming savvy to getting the best deals with their mobile technology and this is having a real impact on the retail industry, as what the consumer is willing to pay is setting the standard for the future.

Retailers must ensure that they relook at their pricing strategies to ensure that they are effectively responding to what these modern shoppers want – and, in such a crowded market, they need to act now to stay ahead of the competition in the pricing game.


Sourced Markus Juhr-de Benedetti, Blue Yonder

Avatar photo

Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

Related Topics

Mobile Technology