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More customers finding restaurants via smartphones

More customers finding restaurants via smartphones

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If you’re still wondering how important your restaurant’s mobile presence might be, consider this line from a new report that documents the impact technology is having on consumers’ buying behavior: “Mobile is often the only tool used to make a purchase decision—this is especially true for restaurants and entertainment purchases.”

It’s good news if you’ve already optimized your restaurant’s online presence for viewing on a mobile device. But if you haven’t, some results found in Mobile Path To Purchase: The New Shopper Mindset could be downright scary.

Consider this: “The number of smartphone users now rivals desktop,” the report finds. “And the number of online smartphone visits are nearly twice those of desktop.” In other words, if you’ve got a snazzy website but a so-so mobile presence, a very high number of potential customers might not find the information they’re looking for when they visit your mobile site.

Mobile Path To Purchase is a joint effort of ad platform provider xAd, call measurement company Telmetrics and research giant Nielsen Holdings. The results combine online survey data sourced from 2,000 U.S. tablet and smartphone users with “actual observed behaviors” of Nielsen’s 6,000-person Smartphone Analytics panel. The study focused on four industries—telecom, restaurants, autos and entertainment—and respondents who had used their mobile device to make a purchase decision in one of these industries within the past month.

One data point is especially favorable for restaurants. Of the industries analyzed for this study, restaurants have the highest conversion rate from looker to buyer—80 percent. The factors that drive smartphone users to make a purchase at a restaurant after seeking information about it are:

• Right price: 15 percent
• Right brand: 18 percent
• Had a location in mind: 19 percent
• Reviews were good: 12 percent
• Close to my location: 20 percent

Other findings from this report:

1. Consumers are relying on their devices as everyday, essential decision tools. Mobile now accounts for 51 percent of time spent online for key categories. For restaurants, the breakdown is 50 percent for smartphones, 46 percent for PCs and four percent for tablets.

2. Mobile is a powerful part of consumer purchase decisions. Forty-two percent of shoppers say mobile is the most important medium for their decision. For restaurants, 60 percent of respondents use smartphones exclusively to make their purchase decision.

3. Most mobile activity takes place at the start of the purchase process. For restaurants, 51 percent of mobile users used their device at the start of the purchase process, researching all the options. Thirty-seven percent turn to it in the middle of their shopping process when considering specific restaurants. Twelve percent go mobile at the end to contact a specific restaurant to make a reservation or place an online order. Nearly one-quarter of mobile device users use their smartphones or tablets all the way through the process.

4. Not surprisingly, decisions come fast. Two-thirds of mobile consumers are looking to make a purchase the same day. Thirty-four percent of consumers are ready to make their restaurant purchase immediately; 30 percent want to eat within the hour.

The report concludes that “the on-the-go nature of mobile means that it can complement and encourage visits to physical locations and be used as a tool to easily drive in-store activity and purchases.” If your restaurant’s mobile site is weak, it’s time for an upgrade.

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