I went to PC World before Christmas. Riveting I know. I also almost got a parking ticket while I was there but that’s a different story.

I went to PC World (now called Curry’s PC World I believe but we’ll just call it PC World…) to have a look at tablets. Because I’m a complete cheapskate I wanted to work out which one to get and then buy it after Christmas when all the prices go down.

So I found a tablet ( a 16GB Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 if you must know…) and wanted to make a note of all the details so I could then buy it online. I asked a shop assistant if they had any literature on the tablets and he replied “That’s what the website’s for.”

So I went on the website using the shop’s WiFi. Ok, it’s mobile optimised. But there’s a but. Maybe I’ve got awful co-ordination, maybe I’ve got huge clumsy thumbs and have the navigational skills of a teaspoon but I didn’t find this website to be great. After a quick search on the internet, other companies are much more open about their pricing and their products are much easier to find.

This reminded me of a Google Engage Event I was lucky enough to attend which covered mobile users and multi channel consumers.

“The four walls of the store have become porous.”

                                                                               The Wall Street Journal

 24% of all smartphone users have used their phones in store to check prices and 17% of these users have changed their mind on a purchase as a result of their findings. (Stats based on studies detailed at Google Engage event – studies available on request.) To give you an idea, The Curry’s PC World price is listed as £329.00. Amazon is £317, John Lewis is £318, The Carphone Warehouse is £317, Digital Devices UK is £311.75…You get the idea.

Because the shop didn’t have any printed information, I turned to the internet where it was clear to see they are not the cheapest providers of this product. Amazon have capitalised on this price comparison habit by creating a mobile app which compares its prices to other shops. Why? Because they’re usually cheaper!

PC World were not that cheap, but I would still have bought from them for the same of having a shop front to visit should something go wrong with the tablet. If PC World had provided more take-away information on the item, I wouldn’t have been driven to the internet to unearth their slightly clunky mobile website and comparatively high prices.

Vodafone monitored mobile data usage and had some excellent findings for Oxford Street shops. Data was peaking in the corner of their shops. But not just any corner – The corner where the changing rooms were. And yes, there was lots of price comparison going on but also MMS messages being sent. Customers were taking photos of themselves and sending the picture to friends probably with the message ” I luk reem init bruv mwah”.

The point is, once you get a user in your shop nowadays, you haven’t caught them. The chase has only just begun. These customers now have access to all your products, all the other products listed on the internet, prices, delivery times, product specifications, reviews… This is the point where you need to be impressing them. In the case of me in PC World, I asked for information on their products. They couldn’t give it to me. So I went online. And found cheaper prices, free next delivery, special offers, free gifts – you name it, I found it.


The moral of the story: Don’t get complacent once users are in your shop. They still have access to the whole world, despite staying in one room. Be as helpful as possible to prevent them going online and price shopping – and if you ARE going to drive them onto the WiFi, for goodness sake, make sure your online offering can compete with the Amazons of the world.