November 13, 2012, 3:23 PM

Mobile shoppers don’t just compare prices in stores

They’re researching products, which opens an opportunity for retailers, a Vibes survey finds.

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Consumers who use their mobile phones when shopping are doing more than just comparing prices—they’re gathering more information on products and in the process sometimes using a retailer’s site or app, which affords retailers the opportunity to clinch a sale through mobile technology, finds a new study from mobile marketing and technology firm Vibes.

Vibes contends that retailers that operate physical stores need not fear showrooming, where consumers in stores compare prices between retailers and later make a purchase online or through mobile commerce. Rather, Vibes points to the full spectrum of activities of mobile shoppers in stores and concludes that retailers armed with their own sites, apps and deals can convince shoppers to buy in-store.

While 54% of mobile shoppers have compared prices in-store, 51% have looked up a product review, showing there is not much of a gap between comparison shopping and gathering more information about a purchase, Vibes says. Of the additional in-store activities the mobile shopper conducts, 45% have scanned a QR code or bar code for more information, 33% have researched a product on the store’s web site and 28% have used a retailer’s app in-store.

Mobile shoppers seem to be savvy shoppers, as well, Vibes says. 76% of mobile shoppers use coupons at least half of the time while shopping; more than half have used mobile coupons, showing that relevant and timely offers play an important role, Vibes says.

The survey of 1,006 consumers who have used their mobile phones for shopping purposes—a group that represents more than 60% of smartphone owners—finds that one-third earns less than $50,000 a year, one-third makes $50,000 to $100,000 a year, and another third makes more than $100,000 a year. One-third of mobile shoppers are above the age of 45, the survey says. And nearly 70% of mobile shoppers do not have children in the household, the survey finds.

“This year, retailers can expect consumers to do more research than ever before to make sure they get what they need, when they need it, at the price they want—with many using their mobile phones to do so,” says Jack Philbin, co-founder, CEO and president of Vibes. “Therefore, it’s important for retailers to understand how and when consumers are using their phones in order to personalize each valuable interaction. And they need to connect with them beyond price.”

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