Will General Contractors Ever Embrace Smartphones for Shopping?

A recent qSample study uncovered the intimate shopping habits of general contractors, including their usage of smartphones while in-store for purchases. This is a vital area to study for marketing, as it is no secret that consumers now use mobile devices more than PCs when it comes to online retail…and they are very engaged online while inside stores.

Yet to better understand general contractor in-store shopping behaviors with smartphones it is insightful to compare them to general shoppers with smartphones.

The general shopper statistics were gleaned from a 2013 Google study: Mobile In-Store Research: How in-store shoppers are using mobile devices.

Here is some of the eye-catching breakdown:

– 84% of general shoppers use their smartphones in-store to assist purchasing.
– 66% of general contractors use their smartphones in-store to assist purchasing.

– 53% of general shoppers use smartphones to compare prices elsewhere while in-store.
– 17% general contractors use smart phones to compare prices elsewhere while in-store.

– 19% of general shoppers have used a QR Code in-store.
– 10% of general contractors have used a QR Code in-store.

This brief comparison reveals evident differences of in-store smartphone usage between general contractors and general shoppers. Why do general contractors rely less on smartphones, one would ask?

Here are two initial possibilities:

– General contractors shop 61% of the time at the big four stores (Home Depot, Menards, Lowe’s, and Ace Hardware). With such cemented shopping habits, the idea of seeking other deals will be more limited than general shoppers.

– General contractors, in general, spend less time working behind a desk with a screen in the conventional office environment—as they are clearly in a more labor-intense industry. Thus, technology in more a universal sense has not translated to general contractors.

More research needs to be conducted, naturally, but market forces are certainly not ignoring general contractors in their use of mobile technology (as seen by the many contractor and builder apps available).

There are possible solutions to increase general contractor engagement with their smartphones while in-store—with the insights of the Google study:

– 64% of general shoppers in-store still use search engines to find product information. According to a study by Symantec, 71% of businesses employ mobile apps (although almost half of the respondents find it “extremely challenging”). This means there is a disconnect between consumers and business mobile apps; and therefore there is opportunity for companies that invest well in creating attractive yet useful online apps.

– Consumers are more educated than ever because of technology. This means they expect more out of a store while visiting. Beyond friendly service, they want informed, customized experiences that include exclusive in-store deals; personalized recommendations/choices while shopping (personal or online); and knowledgeable employees to engage with.

The above is certainly germane to businesses of any size or market share vying for general contractor dollars via smartphone avenues. After all, the average cost of a business app is a sensible $6,453. Furthermore and regardless of the consumer sector, the Google study stresses one key, universal rule when it comes to satisfying smartphone users: make buying a complete and involving experiencing the entire process.

In a way and good news for the future, customer service has not changed, except that information is always at the shopper’s grasp. Therefore, it is essential for marketers to continue gaining and giving data to general contractors—especially with a vastly improving housing and building economy.

Contractor VS General Shopping

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