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Smartphones influence high street activities

20 November 2013 - 13:14 by Paul Tissington

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A new report from BuzzCity has looked at the relationship between shopping online and high street retail, concluding that a growing number of consumers are harnessing mobile devices to combine the two in interesting, fresh ways.

The Drum reports that almost two thirds of respondents to the survey said that they will be shopping both online and at bricks and mortar outlets in the run up to Christmas 2013, dispelling the idea that you have to be committed to one platform or the other, not both.

A fifth of those questioned said that when out and about at real world stores, they would use their smartphone to search for product info and pricing details, rather than finding a human assistant within the shop itself, because it is easier and faster to harness m-commerce tools in this way.

Twenty nine percent said that they had got in touch with friends or relatives whilst at a high street store, using their mobiles, to ask others for advice before committing to a purchase.

This social side to retail has become particularly pronounced as a result of safe shopping online, because it is easy for consumers to share a link to an item with others to get a second opinion. So using a smartphone to achieve the same thing on the high street makes sense.

The most important asset of any retail experience is variety, according to the results of the report. This trumps low costs and ease of use, suggesting that people are more interested in outlets that have a wide array of products than those that are more specialised.

This explains the success of sites like Amazon and eBay, which can house almost any item imaginable online and are not constrained by the limits of high street rivals.