Mobile Brings New Opportunities for Local Retailers

Mobile becomes a more important driver of in-store traffic

Ecommerce sales are growing fast, but the vast majority of consumer spending still takes place offline in local stores. A large portion of those sales are influenced by online research, most of which is conducted on the desktop. But increasingly, consumers are taking advantage of the sophisticated capabilities of smartphones to do more of this online research while in a store or on the go.

“While online sales are measured in billions of dollars, the store sales influenced by web research are worth trillions of dollars,” said Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer principal analyst and author of the new report, “Local Commerce: How Consumers Find Nearby Retailers.” “The desktop has been the prevalent place for cross-channel shoppers to do online research, but there are signs that a significant share of this activity is shifting to mobile and social platforms.”

Some 70% of consumers checked an online source before visiting a local business or restaurant, according to a survey from local content and advertising network CityGrid Media conducted by Harris Interactive in March 2011. Google was the top source, 13 percentage points ahead of online yellow pages. Consumers also checked review sites (13%) and Facebook (12%).


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