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Retailers Make Strides in Mobile to Enhance In-Store Experience

Overall, the mobile shopping experience has improved significantly

To drive more in-store sales and combat showrooming, today’s retailers are turning to mobile devices in hopes of bridging digital and in-store shopping experiences. According to July 2012 research from the e-tailing group’s “Mobile Mystery Shopping Study,” certain cross-channel features may help US retailers deliver more positive shopping experiences for smartphone and tablet-toting shoppers.

The research found that in Q2 2011, more than half of retailers with mobile web store locators enabled geolocation from the site. That number was up to 82% a year later, in Q2 2012. Locating specific products via a mobile device before heading to a store might be even more advantageous for information-hungry, time-crunched shoppers. About half of retailers enabled that function via mobile websites as of this year.

In-store pickup is another added experience retailers are beginning to implement. The e-tailing group found that in 2011, only 22% of retailers offered the capability to purchase a product via mobile or online and then pick it up in store. By Q2 2012, 34% of US retailers had enabled the pickup function.

A June study by Retail Systems Research (RSR) also demonstrates that retailers are giving more thought to cross-channel activities. According to RSR data, about half of retailers worldwide enabled shoppers to buy online then pick up in store. And 63% allowed shoppers to buy in-store, and then fulfill through online or direct.

In-store experiences are still very important to shoppers. However, recognizing that shoppers visit many channels before they make the ultimate purchase is crucial for today’s brick-and-mortars. The e-tailing group lists “implementing [mobile] site improvements” on the checklist for meeting the needs of today’s on-the-go shopper. Marrying mobile experiences with in-store ones might help boost consumer opinions of retailers and lead to more frequent purchases.

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Check out today’s other articles, “SMBs Pour Money into Mobile” and “Travel Dives Deep into Digital Advertising.”

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