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M-commerce price checking on the rise

01 July 2013 - 14:43 by Paul Tissington

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Sixty three percent of people who own a smartphone also use it to compare product prices when they are out and about, according to a new report from Econsultancy.

This makes price checking the most popular practice for consumers with smart devices, ahead of the 42 per cent who harness their handsets to get vouchers to use on the high street and the 34 per cent who seek out product info via safe shopping online, before they make a purchase at a bricks and mortar outlet.

Analysts point out that there is somewhat of a conundrum intrinsic to this new trend, because retailers will have to acclimatise themselves to the fact that customers will be checking out offerings from their competitors, even if this is not something that they would like to encourage.

It is argued that retailers should now attempt to make sure that consumers have the ability to use their smartphones in-store, through the inclusion of things like free Wi-Fi networking, so that they may be more likely to go through with a sale.

In addition, there may be benefits from this approach that retailers can harness, such as the ability to get consumer contact details, in exchange for this aforementioned access to free Wi-Fi.

Just over half of respondents to the Econsultancy survey said that they were happy to hand over an email address so that they could use their smartphone in a high street outlet.

Retailers may also be able to deploy things like QR codes and NFC-compatible terminals, so that smartphone users have more reason to combine safe shopping online with high street sprees.

Less than a tenth of those questioned did not know what a QR code is, while 65 per cent report having never seen one in the high street, so there is clearly room for retailers to expand their mobile horizons.