This holiday shopping season is expected to be a big one for mobile shopping searches.
Google projects that 44% of searches for last minute gifts and store location will be made from mobile devices this year, and that 15% of all Black Friday searches will happen on a smartphone.
Rather than a single peak, our holiday search habits give insight into our procrastination. Just as in past year’s we will likely see a second peak the week before Christmas as last-minute gift buyers try to find stores and items in stock.
Google’s data focuses in the mobile nature of our searches, but mainly on the in store purchases it will drive. According to an AdMob survey, 65% of high-end device users will head in store to make a purchase after using their smartphone to find a store location or store information.
Mobile Sites Still Suck
While there is a big increase in users heading to retail websites from their smartphones, there are still way to many horrible websites.
I can’t count the number of times I have tried to find a store location or store hours on my phone and failed. There are an unfathomable number of retailers with no mobile website, a flash based crap store locator and no easy way to find my local store.
This may come as news to businesses, but these features aren’t just for technology peddling retailers. Shoppers like myself want to be able to find your store and find out how late you are open from our phones — everyone from Tractor Supply to local small businesses need to make mobile websites a priority. It doesn’t even need to be flashy.
While I’m complaining, you should also stop linkjacking my visits and telling me to download your app, there are times I just want to know if you are still open without pestering your service desk.
A Better Solution
Rather than visit the webpage for the retailer you want to know about, you may ave better luck by using the Maps app on your phone or Googling for the information.
If you already have the store’s app, that’s an OK solution too, but we shouldn’t be forced to download an app just to find out store hours when a mobile website could do it faster.
Milo can search the stock of many local stores and even adds discounts to the mix. I used Milo to find many last minute gifts last year, and to do local price comparisons from my phone.
Last year I was able to help my mom save $20 and find a last minute gift with Milo. In this situation, Target didn’t even have the item on the sales floor, but because we knew it was in stock we were able to convince an employee to find it n the back.
The Next Big Thing
While these trends back up in store buying, I think this year more of you will join me in shopping for Christmas gifts on your smartphone and completing the purchase.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Last year while shopping with my wife, when she would point and say I want that, instead of making a separate trip to try and surprise her, I would act like I was making a note of the item on my phone.
Instead, I was ordering the item from Amazon or a handful of other retailers that make it easy for me to complete a purchase on my phone. I did 90% of my holiday shopping online, and probably 50% from my smartphone while I was at the store.
In order for this to catch on, other retailers will need to make it easier to browse, find products and pay for them.
Image via Flickr judsond