The days of relaxed leisurely shopping seem to be over or at least on the decline. Shoppers now want to save time, save convenience, and want answers fast. We live in the era of the “smart shopper,” a valiant warrior who enters the store prepared and ready for battle. Their weapon of choice? The smartphone.

90% of smartphone shoppers use their phone for pre-shopping activities and 84% of smartphone shoppers use their phone while in the physical store, according to a study conducted by Google Shopper Marketing Council.

The mobile phone phone use is consistent across all categories of retail. The pre-shopping activities could be everything from finding locations, directions and hours to searching for info about promotions or reading product reviews.

Shoppers often need more information to make a purchase decision and mobile search is their gateway.

86% of retailers report that at least some customers use mobile phones to help them with shopping while they are in the store, according to a recent Retailer eCommerce study . In store activities mostly consist of comparing prices or researching for more product info. In fact, 58% of customers use their mobile phones to compare prices and 22% use them to read product reviews, according to the study. Customers use the search tool as their number one resource to help them research products. What's more, one in three consumers prefer to use their smartphones in the store rather than ask store employees.

It seems these mobile users are not just smart shoppers, but are smart spenders. Those who use their mobile phones more also buy more. Mobile research influences the path to purchase and increases basket size as shoppers use their new research to help them make their buying decision. Mobile users may also spend more as they find mobile coupons and promotions while they shop in the store.

If the “smart shopper” is one who uses their mobile phone, perhaps the smart retailer would be one who took advantage of this type of mobile shopping. Making sure that store hours, contact info, and directions are clear and available to assist in pre-shopping is a good way to help consumers get to the store. Yet Mobile’s power lies not just in helping customers get to the store, but helping them stay there.

Creating easy ways for shoppers to find product information, promotional offers, or other information about your business as well as taking into account geolocation, time of day and differences in various user devices are all ways to help the in store shopper. Similarly, having a wide inventory of eCommerce products, store maps, and product information QR codes are just some of the ways to connect with mobile users. Many stores are already taking advantage of mobile shopping use, such as Macy’s, which has released an app that offers in store savings, allows customers to access their registry and scan products right from their mobile phones.

As those who use their mobile phones tend to spend more, there is value in investing more in your company’s mobile site. Rather than spending more money on in store retailers or displays, retailers should invest more in a mobile site that collaborates with and enhances the physical store. When smart shoppers consults their mobile phones for advice it’s really a sign of uncertainty.  They are practically screaming, _“help! I don’t know what to do. Should I buy this item?”  _They are on that shaky cliff, that precipice of purchase.   Having a strong mobile site, up to date and unified with the desktop site, becomes the opportunity to lead them off the edge—right to the cash register.

by Justin Megahan