WASHINGTON, D.C. - More than half of adult cell phone owners used their mobile phones to seek help with purchasing decisions while they were in a store during the 2011 holiday season, according to new research from the Pew American & Internet Life Project.
During a 30 day period before and after Christmas, 38% of cell owners used their phone to call a friend while they were in a store for advice about a purchase they were considering making. Also during that same time frame, 24% of cell owners used their phone to look up reviews of a product online while they were in a store, and 25% of adult cell owners used their phones to look up the price of a product online while they were in a store, to see if they could get a better price somewhere else.
Taken together, just over half (52%) of all adult cell phone owners used their phone for at least one of these three reasons over the holiday shopping season and one third (33%) used their phone specifically for online information while inside a physical store€"either product reviews or pricing information.
During a mobile results panel at the Mobile Insider Summit held in mid-January, Dan Israel of SapientNitro said that retailers are experiencing an era of "radical transparency" in pricing because of smartphone-using consumers.
"It demonstrates that an opportunity, as well as a sense of urgency, exists for retailers to engage customers before they arrive at a brick-and-mortar, and continue the conversation after the visit to a brick-and-mortar," said Israel in Online Media Daily. "What matters now is engagement and providing utilitarian services, not just value centered on price alone."
Read about how retailers can use mobile technologies to leverage customer loyalty programs in the February issue of NACS Magazine.
For more on technology innovation at retail, plan to attend NACStech €" the convenience and fuel retailing industry€™s premier technology event that is taking place May 21 to 23 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville. Register today!