In-Store Mobile Use Redefines Customer Service - eMarketer

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In-Store Mobile Use Redefines Customer Service

Shoppers would rather look up info on their mobiles than talk to store personnel

January 5, 2015

If customer service is king, then why do so many shoppers prefer typing away on their mobile devices over interacting face-to-face?

In a study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), more than half of shoppers (58%) said they preferred to look up information on their mobile devices while shopping, rather than talk to an in-store employee. This was especially true among shoppers between the ages of 25 and 44 and among men.

When shoppers are ignoring in-store personnel, they’re far more content with the information they dig up on their own than product display or sales literature out on the floor: Nearly two-thirds of respondents felt that the information they gathered on their mobile devices was more helpful than in-store info gleaned from product displays or sales lit.

One thing is clear: Consumers still value customer service, but the way they want it delivered is changing with their consumption habits. As the retail path to purchase changes—mobile is now a significant part of the process, especially for researching on the go and even in-store—so do consumers’ preferences for how retailers connect with them.

Electronics retailers should heed this message most of all, as CEA reported that 60% of mobile shoppers used their devices for assistance when shopping for electronics in-store. They also whip out their phones to look up more detailed specs on a product, read customer ratings and reviews, or compare prices when they’re shopping for groceries (55%), apparel (47%), shoes (45%), and health and beauty products (39%).

However, retailers should not be fearful of mobile use in-store. While some may be showrooming, a Deloitte study found that mobile devices used before or during in-store shopping trips converted or helped to convert nearly $600 billion in US in-store retail sales in 2013, or 19% of total brick-and-mortar sales. The more informed the consumer, the more comfortable he or she is with pulling the trigger on a transaction.

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