Mobile’s Crucial Role in Driving Your In-store Purchases

“Smartphones are a new front door to the businesses around us,” says Lisa Gevelber, vice president of marketing at Google. “We see more and more people turn to their phones prior to making an offline purchase.”


According to Advertising Age, Target started using the phrase “front door to the store” after discovering that 3/4 of their visitors originally started their shopping venture on mobile. The retail giant also learned that 1/3 of Target guests who first clicked on a mobile search ad, followed it up by paying a visit to the store.

Advertising Age also shared the following statistics on mobile shopping trends, taken from a recent review of Google search data:

  • 50% of consumers using their smartphones for local searches end up visiting a store within a day, while 18% of those searches result in a purchase.
  • 1 in 4 people avoid stores because they don’t know if a product is in stock
  • 82% of shoppers say they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store

So how can you cash in on the mobile shopping trend?

Update Your Website to A Responsive Design

When your website is responsive, it will adapt to fit the screen size of the electronic devices consumers are using, presenting pages in a viewer friendly version on cell phones, iPads, etc. This is vital when you consider that “mobile shopping-related searches increased 120% in the last year,” says Advertising Age. If 57% of consumers abandon a site that doesn’t load fast enough, it stands to reason that they’ll also navigate away from a website that doesn’t display properly. Updating your website to a responsive platform will ensure that consumers can see what you want them to see when conducting mobile shopping searches. Additionally, Google will rank your website higher in the mobile search results.

Optimize SEO For Local Searches

It’s imperative that consumers can easily find you when they perform online searches. Why? As Advertising Age points out, “Consumers are hungrier than ever for local information.” Check out the stats:

  • Google searches with “near me” have grown 2.4 times year-over-year.
  • A 2015 Google consumer survey found that 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit the store within a day and 18% of those searches lead to a purchase.

Make Sure Your Inventory is Accurate

As mentioned above, Google search data indicates that 1 in 4 people who avoid stores say it’s because they don’t know if a product is in stock. If consumers know that the inventory items they see on your website are represented accurately, they’ll be more likely to visit your store and make a purchase. If you don’t already have one, invest in an integrated inventory management system that always keeps your website up to date. You’ll earn the trust of consumers and drive more traffic to your store.


Think of Smartphones as Shopping Advisers

Smartphones have effectively become shopping advisers. As the graph below indicates, consumers are using mobile throughout the entire shopping process, from gathering ideas and inspiration to comparing products and searching for store locations.


With consumers relying on their smartphones for pretty much every aspect of shopping-related searches, retailers are able to glean invaluable information about what kind of person is shopping, what they’re looking for, and where they’re looking for it. Armed with this kind of knowledge, it’s easy to recognize the crucial role mobile plays in driving in-store purchases. Like Target said, mobile is the “front door to the store.”


Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.

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