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Consumers Are Still Brick-and-Mortar Loyalists

Consumers are still brick-and-mortar loyalists . / Credit: Shopping mall image via Shutterstock

Though consumers are using their mobile devices more than ever to find deals and research products, they still love their brick-and-mortar stores, a new study shows. Despite the proliferation of devices, shopping applications and growing consumer comfort with the mobile channel, the vast majority (90 percent) of both online and offline shoppers involve a store visit in many of their purchases.

Regardless of the venue, though, the consumer is still in control. Today's consumers take a highly personalized path to purchase, utilizing devices including PCs, smartphones and tablets, according to a study of more than 1,000 consumers. The study was conducted by the e-tailing group on behalf of Local Corporation, an online local media company, to explore consumer shopping behavior across a growing array of mobile devices, including consumer preferences and plans for researching and purchasing multiple categories of products.

The study highlights how savvy consumers have taken the reins of their shopping experience even within brick-and-mortar stores. Nearly half of consumers surveyed confirmed that they use their smartphones to search for local information, including information about the local store they want to visit.

[Smartphones Good for Shopping, Not Necessarily for Buying]

Though consumers have quickly embraced the functionality and convenience of mobile devices, they primarily use these devices as research tools, not for conducting the heavy lifting such as completing the transaction of a major purchase.

Cross-channel or device research and purchasing provide advertisers with opportunities to tailor messages. The good news for retailers is that shoppers take a balanced approach to their research across devices leading up to a purchase, and advertising continues to play a strong role in a consumers’ choice of shopping destination, the study showed.

"We learned that once again the customer is in control and will consume information in ways that are convenient for them," said Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group. "They are increasingly leveraging mobile devices to power their browsing and shopping activities. Retailers and brands have to be flexible and adjust to these behaviors and be able to deliver not only timely but relevant, localized information."

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