Survey: Shoppers opt for help from phone over sales associate

When it comes for help in stores, shoppers are increasingly going mobile.

That is one of the findings of a survey by Salsify, a product content management platform for distributed commerce, which revealed that 77% of shoppers use a mobile device while shopping in store. This compares to just 35% of shoppers who opt to speak to a salesperson if they have questions about a product.

With so many turning to mobile while shopping in-store, the need for strategic and informed product content is essential, according to the report. Eighty-seven percent (87%) of consumers say accurate, rich, and complete product content is very important when deciding what to buy.

"Consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to answer product-related questions, like price and availability, while they shop," said Jason Purcell, CEO and co-founder of Salsify. "This year's research again demonstrates just how critical it is for every brand and retailer to have a systematized approach to maintain robust and relevant digital content to retain shopper attention and win sales."

The research indicates that consumers between the ages of 18 and 29 are most likely to use a mobile device when shopping online (84%), followed closely by the 30 to 44 group (78%).

The 60-plus set is least likely to shop online via mobile device, with just 36% straying from more traditional shopping methods for the convenience of mobile.

The survey findings also indicate that the most common paths to purchase online leave room for influencing shoppers. 

A majority of shoppers (87%) begin shopping on either Amazon or Google. But while only 4% of consumers who start on Amazon will buy somewhere else, 38% who start a search on Google will buy from a different retailer. This means that brands and retailers have a tremendous opportunity to win sales by improving their product data on Google, according to Salsify.

In other findings: 

*Inaccurate product content leads to costly returns and customer churn: Fifty percent (50%) of shoppers have returned an item they bought online because it did not match the product description. Fifty-four percent (54%) of those who returned items are less likely to buy from that vendor again.

*Shoppers need robust product content before buying: Seventy percent (70%) of shoppers need to see at least three product images, and 86% want to read at least three product reviews before purchasing a product.