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Consumers Shop Mobile Web While in Physical Stores

smartphone-payments-11102102jpg Credit: Dreamstime.com

Bargain hunters used to get the job done by scouring newspapers and fliers for the best buys and coupons.

Today, the opportunity to shop while simultaneously checking mobile websites for deals and competitors’ prices can give them a new, sign-of-the-times competitive edge, research shows.

The fourth annual Hipcricket Mobile Marketing Survey revealed consumers increasingly are logging onto mobile sites while already in a store in an effort to research products and check prices.

More than 40 percent of the surveyed smartphone users have visited a retailer's mobile website while in its  store; half of those surveyed report having checked a competitor's mobile website while in another store.

The research shows 46 percent of smartphone owners are visiting mobile retail sites to research prices, with 36 percent searching for coupons and other offers. Additionally, nearly 30 percent are using mobile websites to research products.

The results come at a time when mobile retail sites – which historically served as scaled-down versions of retailers' full websites, providing only limited information like locations, directions and hours – are beginning to provide more significant consumer benefits with mobile-specific options.

In general, the survey shows consumers are finding more value in the mobile web, with 70 percent of all smartphone owners regularly using their phone's mobile browser to access the Internet.

At the same time, the research suggests businesses are missing out on opportunities to connect with customers by not marketing to them via the mobile Internet. Only 9 percent of those surveyed said their favorite brands specifically cater to them via their smartphone , despite more than 30 percent indicating a willingness to join mobile customer relationship management or loyalty programs.

Of the shoppers who were targeted via their phones, 75 percent said they found value by participating in the mobile loyalty club.

"While consumers are actively searching the mobile retail web, they also continue to wait for their favorite brands to engage with them on their mobile devices," Eric Harber, chief operating officerof Hipcricket, said in a prepared release.  "This defines a huge opportunity for retailers and brands alike to create valuable conversations with their customers across all mobile channels."

The survey of more than 600 smartphone users was designed to provide insight into consumer behavior and attitudes towards mobile marketing.


Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.