In-store shoppers would rather consult their phones than ask for assistance

As companies like Amazon experiment with unmanned stores, a new survey conducted by Kelton Global on behalf of discount platform RetailMeNot reveals the majority of Americans (69 percent) would rather search for product reviews on their phones while visiting a physical store than interact with a sales clerk. Similarly, over half (53 percent) of Americans would rather use their phone to find deals and offers on products they are considering buying than talk about promotions with an in-store associate.

Commenting on the results of the survey, RetailMeNot’s CEO Marissa Tarleton said in a press statement that physical retail is still the most important channel for American consumers, but the way they shop in brick and mortar stores is being changed by technology. “The mobile device is the number one in-store shopping companion, which is a marketing opportunity for retailers to drive in-store footfall, incentivize sales and understand online-to-offline behavior”, she explained.

Consumers more likely to complete a purchase in person

The power of brick and mortar retail is evidenced by the fact that 64 percent of shoppers complete their purchases in a physical store, even if the shopping journey doesn’t start there. The survey also revealed Americans are 30 percent more likely to complete a purchase in a physical store: 38 percent of shoppers who begin their journey on a smartphone and 43 percent of shoppers who begin their journey on a desktop complete their purchase in a brick and mortar shop. “Mobile browsing and research are standard for most shoppers”, said Talerton.

So, what can brick and mortar retailers do to use Americans’ new shopping behaviors to their advantage? According to the survey, offering discounts online which can be redeemed in-store is a good incentive: 65 percent of surveyors said they find such offers important. That strategy works even better when the coupon offered online is personalized. 69 percent of participants said that would make them more likely to visit the store.

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