Most consumers—3 out of 4—who say that local information in search results is helpful also say that this information eases their visit at the brick-and-mortar store, according to a recent Google, Ipsos MediaCT, and Sterling Brands survey entitled, “Digital Impact On In-Store Shopping: Research Debunks Common Myths.”

The survey involved 6,000 smartphone users who ranged from 18-to-54 years of age; who “have influence in the purchase decision-making process of retail, CPG, or tech products”; and who have used the Internet to search for shopping-related information, according to So-called “helpful” information includes:

  • The price of the item at a nearby store: 75 percent
  • If the item is in stock at a nearby store; 74 percent
  • The location of the closest store with the item in stock: 66 percent
  • Details about local stores, including hours and telephone numbers: 59 percent
  • Information on other items available at the store that carries the items for which the user searched: 57 percent

Inventory awareness was also of significance. In fact, 1 out of 4 respondents indicated that when they avoid stores they do so due to limited awareness of area stores or concerns that the items they seek may not be available. It had also long been believed that when a consumer began looking at his/her mobile device in a retail store that the retailer had lost that consumer’s attention. The survey revealed that this is not true and that, of the 42 percent of respondents who indicated that they conduct research online while in a retail establishment:

  • 62 percent use a search engine, which means that the store may secure the consumer’s attention through search results.
  • 46 percent use either the retailer’s own site or the retailer’s app.

What’s more, the survey reveals that consumers seek information all the time:

  • 87 percent seek information on their potential purchases prior to visiting a store
  • 79 percent seek information on potential purchases when they are in the store
  • 35 percent seek information on potential purchases after they visit a store

To locate information on products and services, consumers use an array of online resources:

  • 75 percent: Search engines
  • 71 percent: Online-only retailer sites and apps
  • 70 percent: Website or apps for retailers with physical locations
  • 39 percent: Social networking websites and apps
  • 36 percent: Online video websites and apps
  • 35 percent: Coupon, daily deal websites and apps

Meanwhile, shoppers did acknowledge feelings of frustration in stores. In fact, 2 out of 3 shoppers indicated that, when they attempted to locate information in a store, they did not find all of the information they needed. When this happened:

  • 43 percent said they felt frustrated
  • 41 percent said they were likely to shop elsewhere
  • 22 percent said they were less likely to purchase from that retailer

Consumers will fill this gap with their smartphones and 72 percent of participants who are in-store shoppers indicated that their smartphone device has become more important to their in-store shopping experience. Retailers, should take heed and bear in mind that, when retailers offer a so-called “smarter” experience by providing personalized recommendations and coupons:

  • 85 percent of respondents say they would be likelier to shop in stores offering personalized coupons and exclusive offers provided in stores.
  • 64 percent of respondents say they would be likelier to shop in stores offering recommendations for specific products to purchase.


MarketingCharts staff. How Search Results Can Drive In-Store Visits; October 30, 2014.

Google, Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands Survey: Digital Impact On In-Store Shopping: Research Debunks Common Myths; October 2014.