So, there I was at ABC Warehouse, a local appliance/electronics store trying to decide which DVD burner to buy using a gift card. Of course, their sales guy, Josh, had his opinion, and I listened attentively.
But when he went to help another customer, I whipped out my trusty iPhone, popped up Google, and used the voice search feature to quickly access both the Toshiba and JVC models. I pulled up specs, pricing, and more importantly, user reviews.
I'm not the only one. A recent study shows that impulse buying and point-of-purchase are characteristics that make smartphones increasingly powerful. Mobile maven Tomi Ahonen talks a lot about the importance of mobile's buying potential and the ways in which consumers can meet their impulsive needs by whipping out their BlackBerry, iPhone, or Droid.
Now Compete's quarterly Smartphone Intelligence survey shows that owners of these devices are very likely to look up shopping info about items they purchase online, as well as check out third party or consumer reviews while in the store.
Focus groups that we've conducted for a number of non-radio clients in the past year confirm that user reviews oftentimes trump just about every other metric or influencer when it comes to learning about a product and making the decision to buy.
This speaks to the growing power of mobile - not just to stream your station - but as a point of purchase tool and on-the-spot research vehicle. Compete's study also confirms that more than four of ten smartphone owners also use their devices to look for retailer/product coupons.
Radio has the ability to deliver this information and to better serve its clients with those "impulse buy" resources that go well beyond buying that traditional schedule of 60-second spots. Integrated campaigns, utilizing the website, social networking, and mobile - all powered by radio's great local reach - are what can paint a rosy picture for radio.
But we need to more aggressively go after this opportunity. A new Adweek Media/Harris Poll study reveals that radio is just about the last place consumers go when looking for a good deal (well beyind newspapers, magazines, online ads, direct mail/catalogs, and TV).
So let the economy pick up and let the advertising climate improve in 2010. But let's not waste this opportunity to rethink how our brands can provide value to both our advertisers and our listeners.
By the way, I bought the Toshiba.