How Mobile Is Changing The Retail Path To Purchase -
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How Mobile Is Changing The Retail Path To Purchase

As the 2013 holiday retail shopping season approaches, it’s no secret that mobile devices are transforming the way customers shop and buy—but did you realize just how much? A new study by Google, How Mobile Is Transforming the Shopping Experience in Stores, offers some useful insights for any retailer or e-commerce business. Here are some key findings:

62 percent of smartphone owners use their phones to assist in shopping at least once a month; 17 percent do so at least once a week. Google dubs these 79 percent of smartphone owners “smartphone shoppers.”

Frequent mobile users spend 25 percent more in-store than people who rarely or occasionally use phones to help with shopping.

90 percent of smartphone shoppers use their phone for pre-shopping activities:

  • 58 percent to find location
  • 57 percent to find hours
  • 44 percent to make price comparisons
  • 44 percent to find promotional offers
  • 43 percent to browse
  • 30 percent to find product reviews

The behavior doesn’t stop there–84 percent of smartphone owners use their phones while in a physical store. The most common activity in-store was using phones to compare prices. Shopping activity on smartphones cuts across all categories, from appliances and baby care to health, beauty and apparel. And an increasing number of shoppers rely on their phones for information instead of asking store employees. (This “self-help” behavior was most prominent in purchases of appliances (55 percent), electronics (48 percent), baby care (40 percent) and household (39 percent).

If you don’t have an app, seems you don’t need to worry: 65 percent of consumers use search engines, while just 35 percent use apps for their shopping comparisons. They also prefer search to store-specific websites or discount code websites.

Overall, consumers feel empowered by their use of mobile, with 51 percent saying it saves them time, 44 percent saying it saves them money and 42 percent saying it makes their lives easier.

What does this mean for your business?

  • Make sure your business can be found on mobile. You need to be listed on local search directories; your business website must be mobile-friendly; and promotional offers and product information should be easy to find using search.
  • You can also use mobile to reach out to customers with targeted messages tailored to their location and the time of day.
  • Make sure your salespeople offer expertise and outstanding customer service to distinguish your in-store experience from online shopping. To help overcome price comparisons, consider bundling products into unique packages and carrying unusual products hard to find elsewhere.

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Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Google+ and, and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.
Rieva Lesonsky

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