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Even Mobile Shoppers Want Real Retail Experience

Although Gen Y shoppers will research and purchase products online, they prefer to be inside a retail store . / Credit: Storefront shopping image via Shutterstock

Most smartphone users (85 percent) use their mobile devices to compare companies, products and pricing.  But companies better come as close as they can to giving customers that old-time retail feeling if they want to get the edge. Even if the online shopper doesn't come to make a purchase, the visit isn't solely dependent on products or pricing: 78 percent of smartphone owners, 75 percent of tablet owners and 69 percent of laptop owners say it also comes down to the look and feel of a company's mobile website.

Convenience is where mobile holds the trump card, according to a study conducted by Kentico Software, a Web content and customer experience management provider.

If given the choice, 63 percent of consumers would rather shop in a store's physical location than via the Internet. Furthermore, when given a choice, online shoppers seem to prefer larger screens over smaller ones, with mobile device preference shrinking along with screen size. This may also be attributed to the many businesses who have not yet invested in sites that are optimized for mobile devices. When asked which devices typically provide the best shopping experiences, 48 percent cited desktop computers, 40 percent said laptops, 9 percent said tablets and 3 percent cited mobile phones.

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"Our survey suggests that while shoppers like the convenience of shopping online via mobile devices, they still want as much of an in-store experience as possible," said Petr Palas, Kentico CEO and founder. "While it may be impossible for businesses to provide mobile shoppers with a 100 percent in-store experience, they need to make mobile shoppers 'feel' as if they're truly in their stores, touching their products, talking to sales reps and being catered to. Otherwise, they will lose business to those sites that do."

To be sure, 76 percent of smartphone users and 78 percent of tablet users return often to websites that look good and work well on their mobile devices. When visiting websites that aren't optimized for mobile, though, 44 percent  said they will never go back and 52 percent said they won't often return.

"This goes beyond what businesses actually do and sell online," Palas said. "If their sites aren't mobile- friendly, people who are out and about will forge new brand relationships with competitors, and they'll take these relationships back home with them to their computers. When it comes to making and breaking customer relationships, it's all happening on mobile devices."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith and BusinessNewsDaily @BNDarticles. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.