Hello… What should I buy?


It was a busy holiday shopping season. There was a lot to do, and there were a lot of different choices for shopping and products. And with all the turmoil, isn’t it nice to know you never had to shop alone?

In a survey recently conducted by Pew Internet Research, they found that more than 50% of adults used their mobile phones while they were shopping in a store over the holiday season. What did we all do while on the phone during shopping trips? We not only asked our friends and family for advice about a purchase (38%), we also looked up reviews (24%) and prices (25%) for products while we were in the actual store.

Retailers need to beware! The Pew research showed that after looking up reviews and prices, nearly one in five of these mobile shoppers eventually bought the product, but they bought it from an online supplier instead of the physical store. The competition is getting tougher for the traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. Online presence and customer service is critical.


Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Ask students if they have used their cell phones to get advice while shopping? When was the last time? What were they buying? Why did they call someone? What happened?
  2. Have students go to the Pew Internet Research site – http://pewinternet.org/– and access the report.
    • What are five key findings from the report?
    • How could these findings be used in a retail location?
    • Assign different retail locations and products to different student groups. (Example: food, clothing, entertainment, etc.)
  3. Observation project for students:
    • Have students divide into teams and select a retail location to observe.
    • Put together a protocol for the observation. Suggestions: number of people using phone while shopping, by gender, by age, by location, by purchase decision.
    • What are the results from the observations? How could this information be used by marketers?

(Source: Pew Internet Research Center)


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