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Mobile plays a critical role for US consumers as they continue to shop in physical stores, finds study

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85% of US shoppers visit three non-grocery physical retail store during a typical week – an average that goes up to four stores per week among millennial shoppers and 5.25 among Generation Z. But they do it armed with their phones. 

So finds a recent survey conducted by Kelton Global on behalf of RetailMeNot, which suggests that consumers today do almost nothing without a mobile device in hand and the study data shows this is especially true when shopping in stores. In fact, most in-store shoppers (69%) would rather consult a product review on their phone than ask a store associate, while more than half (53%) would rather use a mobile device to find deals and offers on products they are considering purchasing than discuss promotions with an in-store associate.

In addition to using their phones as assistants in stores, consumers are leveraging their devices to seek out deals, with half (49%) of Americans having an app that collects and provides deals and discounts across retailers on their smartphones. 65% of them say receiving mobile coupons they can redeem in-store is important when shopping in physical stores. 

Even more significant, 69% say receiving a personalised offer on their phone that they can use in-store would make them more likely to visit a physical retail location.

“In-store retail is still the most important channel for consumers and the role that mobile plays in the shopping journey is notable to retailers who want to reach in-store shoppers,” says Marissa Tarleton, CEO, RetailMeNot. “The mobile device is the number one in-store shopping companion, which is a marketing opportunity for retailers to drive in-store footfall, incentivize sales and understand online-to-offline behaviour.”

The Omnichannel Journey

While retail marketers continue to focus on driving e-commerce and mobile sales, there is still plenty of opportunity to drive revenue through offline channels at the physical store level. 

While 64% of shoppers are completing their purchase in a physical store, they don’t always start there. Data shows 39% of Americans are starting their shopping journey on a mobile device and 14% begin on a desktop. 

Americans are 30% more likely to complete a purchase in person than on their smartphone when they find a deal on their phone, while 38% of shoppers who begin their journey on a smartphone and 43% of shoppers who begin their journey on a desktop complete their purchase in a physical store.

“Mobile browsing and research are standard for most shoppers, and a substantial number of consumers are comfortable converting on either that same smartphone device or in a physical store, based on what is convenient to their needs at the time of their journey,” says Tarleton. 

Retailers who dedicate marketing resources to engaging mobile shoppers with both online and offline content will be better poised to meet consumer needs, including that of younger generations, wherever they are in their shopping journey.

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