Think back seven years or more. How did you make decisions to buy things? Maybe someone in your office told you about a sale at the local department store. Maybe you saw a billboard or an ad in the local newspaper. Or perhaps you just walked around you local mall until you spotted something that struck your fancy. Now, thanks to mobile and social technologies, the way we shop is being influenced by more than just sales. 

A Mobile, Social Shopping Experience

To think that in just a few short years, mobile and social technologies could change the shopping habits of an entire universe (okay, I exaggerate) is extraordinary. But it's true — being able to search our smartphones for additional information about a product or to avoid the traditional checkout counter by paying from our mobile wallet, has drastically impacted the way we shop online and in stores. 

Word of mouth marketing has moved from the water cooler to social media. So much so that 81 percent of consumers say social media posts by their friends influence purchase decisions. And its not just our friends — posts by brands also influence 78 percent of consumers. 

Just as mobile can make it easier to shop in store, specific social media platforms have helped consumers expand their shopping cart. Thirty percent of frequent online shoppers use Pinterest to discover new products. 

Learning Opportunities

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Leverage Mobile and Social

While it's fun to see how new technologies have made life easier for the average consumer, brands and marketers need to understand how they can help customers shop smarter. Many fear mobile and social media are poised to ruin the traditional shopping experience, which can mean the end of the brick and mortar stores. But there's no reason why "mom and pop" shops, as well as big-brand retailers can't leverage these platforms to improve the in-store experience.

By offering mobile checkout, for example, stores can streamline the checkout experience, which can eliminate bottlenecks and long lines. As well, retailers can engage with customers across social media to advertise deals and discounts to ensure that no matter where a customer shops, they are guaranteed an optimal omnichannel customer experience.