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.

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%.



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