Don't be left in the dark as all signs point to growth for digitization

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — If you are a retailer that has yet to develop a smartphone application, then you need to read this.

(THE NEWS: Survey: 45% of smartphone users with a retailer-branded app visit the retailer's store more often. For the full story, click here)

Anyone who has been even remotely following technology trends has likely noticed that mobile technologies and social networking platforms — on behalf of both retailers and manufacturers — are becoming increasingly pervasive in the industry as a way to customize offers for today’s shopper. And the momentum shows no signs of slowing. In fact, based on a slew of recent survey results, the pace is quickening.

As the article stated, one of the more recent surveys to be released found that respondents who said they had downloaded a retailer-branded app said the app caused them to visit the store more often (45.8%), buy more of the store/brand’s products and services (40.4%), tell a friend about their store shopping experience (35.8%) and encourage friends to visit the store (30.8%).

Those are impressive numbers, and that’s why it is important for retailers — especially those that do not yet have an app — to sit up and take notice.

Clearly, consumers are using retailer-branded apps as an engagement tool, and the opportunity for retailers to leverage such technology and further engage consumers is significant.

Further evidence that digitization is increasingly getting greater play within retail is a new survey by agency network Leo Burnett Worldwide and its marketing services arm, Arc Worldwide, which found that people of all ages are using such social networking sites as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Groupon as shopping tools.

The "SocialShop" study found that 95 million Americans, or 42% of Americans, are shopping through social media, while almost 73% of people were using social media more than a year ago.

Meanwhile, it also was reported last week that, according to a ComScore study, online retail spending reached $44.3 billion for first quarter 2012, up 17% from the year-ago period. And when it came to mobile shoppers, ComScore found that 38% of tablet owners have made a purchase on their devices within the past month.

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