Home > Consumer Behavior & Trends, Media Usage, Retail > Thanks for the Customer Service, but my Smartphone Found a Better Price

Thanks for the Customer Service, but my Smartphone Found a Better Price

Forget about shopping in your pajamas – with smartphones and tablets, you can shop in multiple stores by going to just one store. Sure, you can do that online, from the comfort of your own home, but you can’t feel the product and really see it up close. You also don’t have the advantage of picking the brains of customer service reps and product experts.

I recently had the chance to “borrow” customer service from a store I wasn’t planning to purchase from. Sadly at the time, I did not have a smartphone (those were tragic times), but I still went in to an electronics store knowing prices and stats of laptops I had found online. I spent time chatting up a member of the customer service team and he helped me pick the model I wanted. When the associate was ready to ring me up, I chuckled a little and said “No thanks, I found this same model online for $200 less…in red.” Although the associate was bummed, he knew he was defeated (he could not offer me my heart’s desire – a new metallic red Toshiba!). He groveled and tried to counter the offer with warranties, but I would already be getting one from the manufacturer no matter where I purchased. Had his boss been aware of better deals and color selections elsewhere, perhaps the store could have made me a better offer.

Using smartphones and tablets, Mobile Users have pulled this same maneuver—they shopped one store, compared prices on their device, and then left to purchase somewhere else! 40.6% have gone to another physical store and 25.6% have purchased from a different online retailer:

Have you ever done any of the following on your smartphone or tablet while shopping in a store? (Check all that apply)
Compared prices and purchased from another retailer’s physical store

40.6%

Read product reviews to decide between products

35.8%

Compared prices but still purchased from the same retailer

30.6%

Scanned a QR code to get more information about a product

29.7%

“Checked in” for a discount

26.7%

Requested a price match

26.4%

Compared prices and purchased from another retailer’s website using my device

25.6%

Compared prices and purchased from another retailer’s website using my laptop/desktop after leaving the store

23.1%

Compared prices and purchased from the same retailer’s website using my laptop/desktop after leaving the store

13.3%

Compared prices and purchased from the same retailer’s website using my device

13.3

 
Source: Prosper Mobile Insights™ Mobile Survey December 2011
Be sure to check out the release Opportunity Lost: 40% of Mobile Users Compare Prices, Purchase From Competition, According to Prosper Mobile Insights™

Several Mobile Users are also taking advantage of customer reviews, QR codes and check-ins.

Retailers need to watch out for these “smart” shoppers and iPad price investigators! Physical stores need to be able to compete with online stores, as well as their physical next door neighbors, since smartphone and tablet shoppers have all the competition’s price and selection information at their fingertips. Retailers can’t rely on the idea that shoppers like to touch and feel the merchandise before they buy—most shoppers still do, but they can experience your products in person and still purchase them somewhere else where the price is better! (They can take advantage of your knowledgeable sales people and still take the better price elsewhere 🙂

We want to hear your stories! How have you used a mobile device to help you shop? Have retailers lost your business because you found better deals somewhere else? (Have you made an electronics guru cry recently?) We want to hear from you!

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