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How Mobile Drives Shoppers to In-Store Purchases

Mobile shopping has reached some remarkable new milestones

Mobile shopping-related searches increased 120% in the last year, a review of Google data shows. With this growth, retailers are finding that mobile plays a critical role in driving shoppers in-store. Shoppers now reach for their smartphones in every kind of micro-moment, from “I want to be inspired” and “I want to learn more,” to “I want to buy” (and crucially, “I want to buy again”) moments.

These moments represent a tremendous opportunity for brands. Because with mobile, marketers have the unique power to match marketing messages with signals of intent, identity and context. What kind of person is shopping? What is that person looking for? Where is that person right now? With mobile, marketers know.

Recent Google search data and mounting third-party evidence has given us new insights into how marketers can engage shoppers in these micro-moments. Here’s what we’ve recently learned:

1. Mobile is the “front door to the store.” That’s the phrase the retail giant Target now uses after learning that three-fourths of its guests start their shopping journey on mobile, and that one-third of guests who click on a mobile search ad take a trip to a Target store. Similarly, the telecommunications company Sprint discovered that one in four people who click on its mobile search ads end up in a Sprint retail store.

2. Consumers are hungrier than ever for local information. Google searches with phrases such as “near me,” “closest” and “nearby” have more than doubled in the past year. In fact, a 2015 Google consumer survey found that 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day, and 18% of those searches lead to a purchase.

3. Ads that show local inventory drive shoppers into stores. One in four people who avoid stores say it’s because they don’t know if a product is in stock. If you’re an omnichannel retailer, showing shoppers the items you have in stock at nearby stores can be half the battle. For example, after adopting Google’s Local Inventory Ads, which show actual store inventory to online searchers, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores saw a 122% increase in store visits. Furthermore, Local Inventory Ads drove $8 of in-store sales for each dollar invested.

4. Smartphones are the new in-store adviser. Eighty-two percent of shoppers say they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store. Amazingly, nearly one in four shoppers say they have changed their minds while in a checkout line after looking up details on a smartphone. The beauty and body-care retailer Sephora has been a leader in treating in-store mobile behavior as a major opportunity: It encourages in-store customers to scan products into Sephora’s mobile app to receive product ratings, reviews and other key information.

5. Omnichannel shoppers spend more. According to MasterCard, customers who shop both online and off with a specific retailer buy 250% more on average. Macy’s discovered that its omnichannel shoppers are eight times more valuable than those who shop in a single channel.

Taken together, the numbers say that whether you’re a global brand or a local shop, mobile is changing your shoppers’ behavior in and out of the store. It’s essential to be there on mobile, yes. But it’s even more important to create rich and relevant experiences that connect your stores with shoppers in all their micromomentsand encourage those shoppers to come back again and again.

About the Author

Matt Lawson is director of performance ads marketing for Google, responsible for a broad portfolio of ad products, including search, shopping, display and analytics. Prior to joining Google, Mr. Lawson was VP-marketing at Marin Software, a leading platform for digital advertising management, and held a variety of executive roles at Coremetrics, one of the early innovators in Web analytics. Mr. Lawson’s passion for evangelizing digital marketing best practices has resulted in regular speaking engagements at Ad:Tech and Clickz Live, as well as numerous articles on both Search Engine Land and, more recently, the Inside AdWords blog.

About the Sponsor

Google Inc. is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google’s innovations in Web search and advertising have made its website a top Internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world.


From, 02-02-2016, copyright Crain Communications Inc. 2013

This article was written by [email protected] (Matt Lawson, Director, Performance Ads Marketing and Google) from Ad Age and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.