We’ve reported various times about the revolutionary impact that smartphones have had on France (here and here). comScore, has just published some research demonstrating that smartphones are now a key part of French consumers’ retail experience. Most interestingly for retailers, it appears that when they’re in a physical retail store, consumers use smartphones to help them make purchase decisions either through soliciting feedback from friends or family or using their phone to get additional product information.
The top activity that consumers use smartphones for in-store is taking pictures of products, with 6.3 million stating they take pictures of products in-store, a 31% jump over last year. With 3.7 million now stating that they then send these photos on to friends/family and 4.2 million texting or calling friends/family about a product, getting real-time input from others in their purchase decision appears to be quite important to consumers.
Although less frequent that other activities, consumers do still use their smartphone quite readily to research product features or to compare prices when in-store. This is both an opportunity and a potential problem for French retailers. As both of these activities have also experienced strong growth over the last year, it might indicate that in-store product information and customer service could probably use some improving. In addition, as smartphones offer consumers a way to compare prices almost instantaneously, retailers need to ensure that are acutely aware of how their products are priced vs the competition and are properly prepared to handle questions and push back from consumers that is likely to arise.