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'Tis the season to be ... mobile

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — For those who doubt that consumers and their smartphones are inseparable when it comes to shopping, think again. Mobile advertising company Verve Wireless conducted research and found that more than half of consumers are using their smartphones when shopping. The timing of the news is especially critical given the holiday shopping season is upon us and, clearly, holiday 2011 is shaping up to be the “tipping point” for mobile commerce.

(THE NEWS: More than half of consumers use their smartphones when shopping. For the full story, click here)

A study conducted across the 1,300 mobile publishers found that more than 60% of consumers are using their smartphones for shopping one or more times each month. Nearly half of those consumers are using their smartphones to look up price information, followed by product information (24%), reviews (14%) and where to buy (14%).

Those retailers who are hesitant to jump aboard the m-commerce bandwagon for fear of reducing in-store traffic may want to reconsider this thinking. In fact, Moira Koch, VP at Maia Strategy Group, wrote in her latest online blog for Drug Store News that shoppers are not yet switching to mobile purchasing. Shoppers are largely using their smartphones to gather product information, compare prices and make decisions.

Those retailers who make an investment in mobile and develop innovative mobile strategies, such as e-coupons and daily deals, will likely reap the benefits of increased customer loyalty and “traction,” Koch suggested.

This is in line with a recent PriceGrabber survey, which found that 39% of consumers have shopping-related apps on their smartphones and 42% plan to download new shopping apps for the holiday shopping season. When asked why they use such apps to help with holiday shopping, more than half said they find the best prices using mobile shopping apps.

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