How mobile search is driving today’s in-store shopping experience

Despite what you’ve heard, brick-and-mortar isn’t dead. In fact, 61% of shoppers would rather shop with brands that also have a physical location than ones that are online only.1 Because sometimes, you just need something now – right now. Nearly 80% of shoppers will go to the shop to buy when they have an item they need or want immediately.2

People may still visit a physical shop more often than an online one, but they’re searching on their smartphones beforehand to make sure it’s worth the trip. As we were reminded during the 2017 holiday shopping season, a great deal of shopping research is coming from mobile: 78% of holiday shoppers who visited a shop turned to online search before going in.3 What are they asking for help with before they go? Here’s what we found.

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Help inspire my purchase

Shoppers turn to search before heading to the store when they don’t have a product or brand in mind. Mobile searches for “__ brands” are rising, as in “sock brands” (+150%), “men’s watch brands” (+70%), “best purse brands” (+140%) and “makeup brands” (+150%).4 They’re also looking for helpful recommendations on what to buy – searches for reviews on mobile have increased by more than 35% over the past two years.5

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Help plan my in-store trip

Research tells us that half of the people who used search before shopping looked for details about the store itself, such as locations or proximity.6 Get this: in the past two years, we’ve seen over 150% growth in mobile searches for “__ near me now” (“food near me now”, “gas station near me now”, and “delivery near me open now”).7 In addition to queries for local businesses near them, people are relying on their phones to check store hours, directions, wait times, contact information and increasingly, product availability. In fact, 40% of shoppers wish retailers would do a better job of sharing inventory information.8

Help narrow down my purchase options

Once they’ve homed in on a few options, people search on mobile to help them make a final decision. They’re researching a purchase that they plan to make in-store, or to find the best option for their needs. We know that shoppers are on the hunt for the best deals. How so? Because 43% of those who used their phone in stores over the holidays to shop said that they did so to look for deals or savings,9 and 52% of shoppers think that getting deals on their smartphone while in-store is a shopping trend that is both cool and something that they’d use.10 Even more, 50% of shoppers say that they use online video while actually shopping in stores.11

Making mobile count

With so many people relying on their smartphones before shopping in-store, the need for strategic and informed product content has never been more essential. Omnichannel retail leaders must prioritise the mobile experience – it could mean the difference between customers coming into your store primed and ready to buy, or leaving frustrated and empty-handed.

Breaking down the barriers to mobile success