It’s All About the Three Wise Channels This Holiday Season


It’s no secret that this holiday season is going to be a doozy in terms of sales. If marketers want to cash in on this spending frenzy, then they need to focus on both their in-store and mobile experiences.

Indeed, a recent study from Swirl and Research Now shows that consumers are more than twice as likely to buy in-store than via mobile or online. However, consumers also say that mobile phones are playing a bigger role in the shopping experience than ever before—reinforcing the idea that loyalty and likelihood to buy are tied to a great experience on all fronts.

“This Black Friday, shoppers will be more digitally connected than ever,” said Hilmi Ozguc, CEO of Swirl, in a press release. “Our research shows that while consumers overwhelmingly prefer to shop in-store, they have become increasingly reliant on smartphones to guide their decisions—creating a huge opportunity for retailers, or their competitors, to influence purchases.” Ozguc predicts that connecting brick-and-mortar with mobile will be essential to retailers’ success.

In fact, 68% of the 1,000 U.S. consumers surveyed say they make a purchase in store at least once a week, while about a third buy online (30%) or via mobile (27%). But don’t let these figures minimize mobile’s role in the shopping journey. More than two thirds (67%) of consumers go online at least once a week to prepare for shopping, according to the study, and 63% use their smartphone at least once a week for the same purpose. What’s more, 57% use their smartphone at least once a week while shopping in-store. 

The reasons for shopping in-store vary, but what may seem as the most obvious incentive—receiving help from sales associates—hardly plays a role at all. In fact, only 11% of respondents list this as a key factor. Other reasons include:

47%: Seeing or touching items before buying

41%: Having the ability to take items home immediately after purchase

30%: Taking advantage of in-store sales

30%: Redeeming offers or coupons

22%: Enjoying the experience

20%: Feeling more secure about their transactions, compared to buying online

Many of these in-store shoppers have their smartphones in tow. Looking for offers or coupons (57%), comparing prices (52%), finding out product information (49%), creating shopping lists (42%), and accessing social media (40%) are the top actions consumers take with their smartphones while shopping in-store—posing terrific engagement opportunities for marketers. 

Embracing mobile technology to make the in-store experience more engaging should be the top priority for all marketers this holiday season. After all, 86% of shoppers say they’d spend more money with retailers who offer a more personalized and connected online, mobile, and in-store experience. It just goes to show that multichannel experiences are the gifts that keep on giving. 

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