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90pc identify smartphone as easiest-to-use in-store shopping device

Pointing to the potential of beacons and push notifications to enhance the in-store shopping experience, 90 percent of consumers who responded to a new survey being released today by Gannett divisions G/O Digital and Key Ring identified smartphones as the easiest-to-use device for shopping in a physical store.

The Local Mobile Advantage of Retailing report considers mobile’s role for shoppers in their pre-store, in-store and post-store activities. While mobile has opened up a new opportunity to drive sales from online and mobile channels to physical retail, many retailers are overwhelmed by the proliferation of devices and are finding it a challenge to connect, engage and build meaningful, long-term relationships with consumers.

“One of the biggest takeaways from the study is that mobile commerce isn’t only limited to purchases made on a phone – it actually facilitates purchases at the local store level,” said Chris Fagan, CEO of Key Ring. “To fully unlock mobile’s purchase power, retail and brand marketers must craft experiences that deliver what shoppers need, when they need it.

“Mobile is used along the path to purchase – a process than is no longer as linear as it used to be because mobile devices facilitate discovery and planning on-the-go,” he said.

“When marketers are able to deliver localized, personalized, and relevant content to mobile shoppers, they will untangle and enhance the path to brick-and-mortar.”

Conduit for saving
The study of how consumers use their smartphones and tablets in pre-store, in-store and post-store shopping experiences is based on responses from 13,000 users of the Key Ring shopping app.

Key findings from the report include that mobile is viewed by consumers as a key conduit for saving money, with searching for a coupon the most popular in-store activity named by 35.86 percent of respondents. In comparison, 12.05 percent named buying an item online as their favorite in-store smartphone activity.

Prior to visiting a store, smartphones are appreciated for their list-making capabilities, with 89.3 percent of respondents saying that their smartphone is the most convenient device for making a shopping list prior to visiting a physical retail store. In comparison, only 6.1 percent prefer to use their tablets and 4.7 percent their computers.

Additionally, 22 percent of mobile shoppers said they always create a shopping list before they shop and 39 percent said they often do so.

Relevant experiences
The report highlights how consumers increasingly expect highly personal, relevant and targeted shopping experiences. It also suggests that iBeacons and push notification technology will be critical tools for helping marketers and retailers deliver the kind of hyperlocal, contextually relevant ads in real time that can facilitate in-store transactions for shoppers.

Marketers need to focus on developing experiences that adapt to shoppers’ localized needs,” Mr. Fagan said. “Helping customers solve problems or more easily manage the information-overload that’s inherent within the shopping process will help foster higher brand engagement and long-term customer loyalty.

“Think about customer loyalty in this way,” he said. “It’s all about providing utility – the subtle hook that brings first-time and repeat customers back time and time again to engage with your brand across all devices and channels.

“That’s where location-based technology like iBeacons and geofencing allows marketers to create shopping experiences that are fine-tuned to customers’ personal, contextually relevant and local needs.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York