Mobile Shoppers & the Hope for Physical Stores

Shopping-A3For mobile commerce, the retail store still has a chance to rule.

A recent Forrester study found that visiting a physical store is the most influential source of information for consumers making purchase decisions.

This echoes other research highlighting the potential importance of retail outlets for mobile shoppers.

Studies consistently show that consumers use their smartphones and tablets to research during the shopping process, much of which occurs before a store visit. The Forrester study also points out that one in five cellphone-enabled consumers have used their phones to look up information or read a consumer review while in a store.

Logically, tablets were found to be less used than smartphones in stores, though the research did find that 16% have used them for research while in stores. (Please, let me know if you’ve ever seen anyone do this).

What all of these data points show is that while the mobile shopping process is continuous, retailers have a chance to influence customers when they are in their buildings.

This is why so many innovations are being tried at retail. When you see QR codes at a big box retailer or signs that trigger SMS or MMS interactions, they are attempts to see what works in engaging on-location customers.

Mobile companies are creating and fine-tuning capabilities that facilitate highly targeted, in-store messaging, rewards, augmented reality experiences, rich media MMS messaging and a host of other innovations.

Retailers and brands are testing and using many of these capabilities in hopes of learning what works best for their particular mobile-empowered customers. Some likely will be found to be effective, others may be deemed too creepy for primetime.

One way to look at this is that marketers are leveraging certain technologies for one stage of the purchase cycle, where the mobile shopper is physically located at that moment.

This is a great opportunity for retailers who get this and leverage their brick and mortar assets.

Once retailers figure how to best engage mobile shoppers where they buy, they then can focus on the entire purchase cycle, which is how they buy.


Save the date: The MediaPost mCommerce Summit, June 16-19, in Kohler, WI. The agenda.

4 comments about "Mobile Shoppers & the Hope for Physical Stores".
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  1. Brian Abrams from, April 16, 2013 at 11:49 a.m.

    My wife carries her ipad3 everywhere with her, and definitely researches products instore. She has only dropped and cracked the screen once (in the first mon of owning), and has been error free for over a year now!

  2. Jim MacKinley from Zaptap, April 16, 2013 at 12:04 p.m.

    Great info!
    Having a solid mobile strategy that includes an enhanced in-store experience is key in today's mobile -driven world.

    Love your articles. Cheers!
    Jimmy MacKinley

  3. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, April 16, 2013 at 12:16 p.m.

    Thank you Jimmy, much appreciated. Yes, the store does still have a significant role to play in the process.

  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, April 16, 2013 at 12:18 p.m.

    Only one cracked screen might be good, considering the usage it sounds the device gets Brian. Does she scan barcodes in stores with it as well? I'm curious as to whether that will happen at any scale.

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