The study by marketing researchers at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University also found mobile shopping is an effective way to build loyalty or “stickiness” among shoppers, particularly those who buy in low volumes; the study found mobile shopping encourages these shoppers to buy more frequently and to place larger orders.
The research was conducted by Jen-Hui Wang, a marketing PhD candidate at the Kellogg School; Lakshman Krishnamurthi, a marketing professor at the Kellogg School; and Edward Malthouse of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.
It involved analysing sales data from an online grocery retailer that operates in 13 locations in the US. The data was split into two periods. One data set was from June 2012 to October 2012, at which time the retailer launched an advertising campaign for its mobile app, while the other period spanned November 2012 to June 2013.
The shopping behaviour of PC users from the first data set was compared to the behaviour of the same shoppers once they had begun using the mobile app in the second data set.
The researchers found shoppers whose total spending was less than they median value in the first data set (low spenders) increased their average order size after adopting mobile shopping and placed more orders than when they were using only their desktop computer.
For shoppers that were classified as high spenders, the average order size did not change across both sets of data. However, in a similar way to the low spenders, the more this group used mobile shopping, the more orders they placed.
Krishnamurthi told Kellogg Insight the researchers found “the more opportunities you give a customers to interact with a retailer, the more the value of the retailer goes up”.
“And the more the sales revenue from that customer goes up,” he said.
The most commonly shopped categories in the group were diet aids, beverages and fruit, while the least frequently shopped categories were products such as stationery and light bulbs.
This led the researchers to conclude shoppers prefer to use mobile platforms to buy products they already use regularly and want to use immediately.