April 1, 2012, 12:00 AM

In a store retailer’s worst nightmare, shoppers look in stores but shop online

As more consumers shop on their smartphones while browsing in physical stores, big retail chains like Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy are losing some in-store sales to online competitors.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

Mobile commerce may be all the rage among shoppers, but for many store retailers it's another challenge to their existence.

29% of consumers who use a smartphone to research a product while in a retail store end up purchasing the item online, many from Amazon.com Inc., according to a new study of more than 400 consumers by market research firm ClickIQ.

Store merchants watching shoppers on smartphones will focus mostly on younger consumers, a majority of them male. 51% of mobile comparison shoppers who research in-store and buy online are between the ages of 18 and 39, and 55% are men, the study found.

ClickIQ also found that 26% of consumers age 30-39 and 25% age 18-29 recently used a mobile device to research a product while in a store. The numbers fall drastically from there with only 12% of those age 40-49, 6% age 50-59 and 2% age 60 or older researching products in a store using a mobile device.

Some big retailers are being hit the hardest by this m-commerce activity. Respondents possibly visited more than one retailer, but the study shows that the retailers most frequented for research were Best Buy Co. Inc. at 36%, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. at 30% and Target Corp. at 29%.

To find out what happened after the in-store research was complete, survey respondents were asked to state where they eventually purchased the product they were researching. Best Buy did the best job of retaining the sale. 35% of those who researched at Best Buy ended up purchasing at the Best Buy store, with another 14% purchasing at BestBuy.com. However, 21% purchased the product from Amazon.com. The rest did not purchase.

Of those who did their research at Target, 29% purchased at the Target store, 8% purchased at Target.com and 21% purchased from Amazon.com.

Wal-Mart retained 26% to purchase at a Wal-Mart store, and 10% purchased at Walmart.com. Wal-Mart lost 24% to Amazon.com.

When respondents were asked why they made the purchase where they did, an overwhelming 67% stated price as the determining factor. Lagging behind were availability at 14%, product features at 8%, free shipping at 7% and already at the store at 4%.

bill@verticalwebmedia.com

@IRmcommerce

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