There’s no denying it, we are living in a multichannel retail world where consumers expect to be able to purchase from retailers using a number of different online and offline methods.

Our new Multichannel Retail Survey, which accompanies our How the Internet can Save the High Street report,  shows that 87% and 85% of respondents in the UK and US respectively sometimes or always see the ability to purchase from a retailer from different channels as important.

Mobile is a significant part of an effective multichannel strategy as it gives retailers the ability to join up their offline and online strategies. It is by no means a perfect solution yet, but most major retailers have begun to experiment with mobile as part of their in-store shopping experience.

As part of our new report – which surveyed 1,000 consumers in the UK and 1,000 consumers in the US using TolunaQuick – we asked respondents several questions about their use of mobile while shopping.

Here is a summary of some of the results…

Mobile usage

The data shows that the number of consumers that have made a purchase on mobile has roughly doubled in the UK since 2011 from 13% to 25% of consumers. In the US the figure has increased from 12% to 28% in the same period.

In both the US and UK the younger the consumer the more likely they are to have made a purchase using their mobile.

Q. Have you made a purchase using your mobile?

Mobile web vs. Apps

It’s a long running debate to which the answer is really use whichever best suits your commercial needs, but our report shows that when it comes to shopping most consumers prefer to use a mobile site rather than an app.

Q. Do you prefer to use a mobile website or an app?

Store locator and price comparison

In today’s multichannel retail world retailers need to be aware of the needs of consumers who are using their smartphone to enhance the in-store experience so they can provide the required information on their mobile sites.

Almost a third (32%) of UK consumers have used their mobile to find a retailer’s nearest store or opening times, with this figure rising to 41% in the US.

Q. Have you used your mobile to find a retailer’s nearest store, opening times, etc?

The report also shows that consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to shop around and research product information while in-store. 

In the UK 43% of respondents said they had used their mobile to compare prices and look at product reviews while out shopping, up from 19% in 2011. Among US consumers the number has increased from 20% last year to 50% in this year’s survey.

As with purchasing on mobile, the likelihood to have researched price information and reviews increases among younger respondents.

Q. Have you used your mobile to compare prices and look at product reviews while out shopping?

There is a debate over whether high street stores should install free Wi-Fi to make it easier for their customers to go online when shopping.

Some suggest that by making it easier to search for product information and prices retailers are simply driving their customers elsewhere.

However by enabling consumers to find information and reviews it also helps them to make an informed purchase decision in-store. This improves the overall shopping experience and the consumer’s perception of the brand.