CHICAGO: With showrooming now a mainstream activity, retailers should be using personalised mobile marketing strategies to deliver relevant and timely content to consumers, a new study has argued.

The Mobile Consumer Report, from mobile technology marketing company Vibes, surveyed 1,000 smartphone owners to establish consumer attitudes and behaviours regarding smartphone usage in retail stores, personalisation and mobile messaging preferences.

It found that over the past year there had been a 156% increase in the number of consumers who had purchased a product from a competitor while in a retail store.

But Vibes said that retailers had a 50/50 chance against the showroomers, as its research indicated that, after comparing prices on their phones while in-store, 47% completed transactions, while 45% went elsewhere to purchase items. Just 7% did not make a purchase.

Product reviews and competitors' prices were among the subjects consumers were looking up most frequently on their phones when in-store. Some 50% did so in the survey, a significant increase from the 31%-33% engaged in such activities in 2012.

"The antidote to showrooming," said Jack Philbin, co-founder and CEO of Vibes, " is creating contextually relevant and personalized mobile experiences that motivate and influence consumers to take notice and make purchases."

The research showed that 89% of consumers would sign up for mobile messages if they were personalised, but only 18% regularly saw personalisation from retailers and brands.

"If retailers don't establish personalised mobile strategies, they'll increasingly face unengaged consumers who will continue to browse in-store and buy online from competitors," declared Philbin.

The study offered a few pointers as to how retailers might proceed. As 60% of consumers wanted mobile content that used their preferences and interests, such as favourite shopping categories, brands and sizes, this was clearly the most important aspect of personalisation.

Getting a special deal can also encourage consumers. Among those who had either texted or scanned a QR code to get more information or an in-store deal, 42% said doing so had made them feel better about the purchases they made.

In addition, such information can drive a significant increase in sales. Some 40% said they had made a purchase they had not planned on making beforehand because of this information, up from 14% in 2012.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff