When was the last time you saw a woman checking a product with her smartphone ?

iStock_000018714975XSmallI went to Target and came out just with the stuff I needed said no woman ever !  Target is a very good retailer and understand the art the merchandising to their audience.  I had the chance yesterday, at two different Target stores, to watch some shoppers and I didn’t see one person using their smartphone to compare prices or look up information on products.  The idea that people are going to use their smartphones for most of the products they purchase is myopic in its thinking.

Have you ever used your smartphone to compare prices on a product or get more information ?  The answer probably is no.  Sure there are some instances where you might want more information, like consumer electronics or appliances, but are consumers really going to use their smartphones to get more information on a new shampoo ?  This is where data can send marketers down the wrong path away from conversion.

Remember that most woman shop while most men purchase.  Women like to shop to compare items on the shelf or rack.  It’s a way for them to enjoy the experience of “shopping” and one reason that a lot of retailers are struggling to sell some products online.  Men on the other hand go into the store and if they need a white button down shirt they look for their size and style and they are done.   So where do smartphones comes into the picture?

Well first let me say that I believe the QC code is all but dead.  I mean consumers are time pressed enough and just don’t have the time to scan codes and wait for websites to load.   Recently I talked to the owner of a BMW dealership and asked him how many customers have used smartphones to compare car models and his reply was “why use their phone when we have all the tools right there at the dealership?”.  However go to a Best Buy and you’re likely to see shoppers who use their smartphones to see if they can get that big screen TV at Wal*Mart or Costco at a lower price.  The difference if that using their smartphone in this case could result in several hundred dollars in savings.

Don’t just rely on data that says more consumers are using their smartphones before purchasing.  Think like a consumer and ask yourself “is it worth my time to use my smartphone to compare products and check prices?”

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