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With four in ten mobile searches leading to a purchase in-store, could the smartphone save the high street?

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With the high street as we know it under threat of extinction, according to some forecasters, retailers need to fight back by incorporating mobile into the heart of their marketing strategies, says a new report by Tradedoubler, the performance marketing and technology firm.

The report, which is based on Tradedoubler’s research among 2000 smartphone users in Europe, shows that 38% of people who research a product on their mobile phone will then go into a shop to buy it. 47% go on to complete their purchase on a PC, 25% on their mobile and 7% on a tablet.

The report reveals that smartphone use while in-store could also mean lost business for retailers that lack an effective mobile customer engagement strategy. The ‘showrooming’ phenomenon is where shoppers first visit stores to look at products, but then turn to their mobile phones in order to find the best price, completing the purchase online with a competitor. This behaviour was revealed in the survey when 42% of those who said they had used their mobiles in a shop revealed they had used it to track down a better deal elsewhere.

“Much has been written about mobile representing a potential nightmare scenario for high street retailers,” explains Dan Cohen, Market Unit Leader, Tradedoubler. “But our study shows that the opposite can be true as long as retailers are prepared to harness the potential of mobile, and not be afraid of closing a sale through different channels. We’re finding that mobile search can be a tremendous catalyst to driving consumers onto the high street.”

The report recommends that retailers looking to take advantage of mobile should adopt a seamless approach across online and off-line channels, reinforced by special daily deals, voucher codes, mobile-optimised websites and tracked affiliate programmes.

The study found that many shoppers would welcome such additional functionality, with 35% saying they want to use vouchers and 56% welcoming location-based offers, although currently only 16% of users receive them.

“The world of retail is changing,” adds Cohen. “Technology is transforming the way we search for and buy products. Apps and smartphones are leading the way, driving consumer behaviour that demands an always on, multi-touch, multi-channel response from retailers. Retailers who fail to embrace this will quickly be left behind.”

Tradedoubler has embraced the changes in technology that are driving new consumer behaviour and works with clients such as The Body Shop and Jessops to create integrated campaigns that can drive purchase on mobile, but also incentivize consumers to ‘check-in’ at their high street stores and redeem special discount vouchers to increase footfall and the potential for incremental sales.

Tradedoubler was the first pan-European network to offer an integrated e-commerce and m-commerce affiliate offering to help advertisers extend online programmes to users on mobile devices. It followed up at the beginning of this year with the launch of Application Download Tracking (ADT) for iOS and Android which enables companies to measure the ROI on App downloads.

Tradedoubler has an award-winning publisher network and with its ability to accurately record whether a sale was generated by an affiliate’s PC site, mobile site or App, it has the technology to ensure that publishers are accurately rewarded and that advertisers are can analyse the success of individual elements of their cross-channel marketing campaigns.

The Tradedoubler white paper is available for download here

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