Nearly half of in-store shoppers do research on mobile

A new study shows that the line between m-commerce and the in-store experience is rapidly disappearing as retailers reported that nearly half of customers who use their phone for shopping have done so in-store.

The report, "Enhancing the Retail Omnichannel Customer Experience," was conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SPS Commerce, and surveyed retailers on the growing role of digital shopping when it comes to consumers making in-store buying decisions.

Retailers said that almost 50 percent of customers have used mobile devices to find product information, compare prices or look up reviews while shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. That means having strong cross-channel engagement is more important than ever for retailers.

"Retailers are racing to engage consumers across their existing channels, striving to integrate their in-store and digital merchandising," said Peter Zaballos, VP of marketing and product at SPS Commerce. "We believe this research study highlights how much fundamental change retailers and suppliers must make in their business processes and technology systems as the adoption of mobile apps, social media strategies and digital wallets such as ApplePay change how consumers shop."

According to those surveyed, the biggest priorities for retailers when it comes to their omnichannel strategies are building out their e-commerce site (60 percent), providing in-store staff with mobile apps (32 percent) and improving cross-channel product visibility (30 percent). To better facilitate those efforts, most retailers are investing in customer analytics (60 percent), POS solutions (58 percent) and item management (32 percent).

Of course, none of that matters if stores don't have the wide product range the modern consumer has come to expect, so 68 percent of retailers said they are currently in the process of bringing on new vendors to help them provide a broader assortment.

Despite the rapid growth of e-commerce, it's become increasingly clear that retailers can't afford to think of digital and physical as distinct sides of their business. Half of customers plan to shop across channels this holiday season by webrooming and showrooming, while even the tech savvy millennial generation continues to seek out in-store experiences.

For more:
-See this SPS Commerce report

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