Smartphone owners bring their devices with them when they shop, and use them to research products and get coupons. But these practices differ greatly whether they are in a convenience store, grocer or electronics boutique.

Customers Use Smartphones Differently Depending on Store Type

Smartphones can be a powerful on-site research tool for consumers - and most device owners use them to help learn more about items before they purchase them. But usage patterns vary greatly depending on what type of store they are in, as well as whether they read online product reviews, scan a QR code, or access a coupon. In general, customers don’t bother with any of these practices when going to a convenience store or a dollar store - less than ten percent of smartphone owners did so in these places. A Nielsen study from this month showed that customers engage in these activities only in certain stores.

Bigger purchases lead to more in-store researching

The most popular shopping-with-smartphone activity is reading reviews, a behavior that directly translates from the at-home practice of online research. Consumers mostly read up on products that are larger or more special purchases, even while visiting the store. The most popular places to do so are electronic stores - 73 percent of smartphone owners look up product reviews while in the shop. 43 percent read reviews while visiting a department store, 34 percent at a mass merchandiser. Respondents less often read reviews in an office supply store (22 percent), clothing store (21 percent), furniture store (19 percent) or grocery store (14 percent).

QR codes and coupons less used but more evenly requested

QR codes are more of a smartphone-specific activity, but still mainly serve the purpose of a time-saving route to a product information page or marketing materials. General usage is lower - the highest level was at electronic stores at 57 percent. Coupon usage is less popular still than QR codes, but more widespread. Grocery stores (41 percent), department stores (41 percent) and clothing stores (39 percent) were most often where people used or requested coupons. Only about 8 percent of smartphone owners used QR codes or coupons at furniture stores. Shop owners would do well to know how devices are used at their stores, and assume strategies accordingly.

By Ivory King