Online marketing and consulting firm Maxymiser, which specializes in “cross-channel optimization” (which means: get the most out of each platform that you sell on, and letting each of those platforms, or “channels” help reinforce each other) is out with a new report about your customers’ use of Smartphones, and the word is — whether you sell primarily online, or off, they’re using them, either way, to help guide purchases.

Their latest study “found that nearly 60 percent of U.S. consumers use a mobile phone or tablet either during or directly before shopping at retail stores.” And further, “Thirty-nine percent of consumers reported that they are most likely to use their mobile device in a physical store during a shopping trip. An additional 19 percent indicated that they were most likely to use a mobile device while on the way to store.”

In other words, your customers are online, comparing prices, product reviews, and more, even if you encounter them “offline,” walking up to your cash register, or your mobile card swiper, if you’re seeing them at a trade show, convention, etc.

What this means is that even if you don’t consider yourself primarily an “online retailer,’ you have to have an online presence, to guide customers back to your business, products, and services. If you sell red velvet cupcakes out of a food truck, does that truck have a web presence, so those in the neighborhood can know where to find that truck every Friday at 5?

If you’re a physical store, will the customers find online coupons available when looking up products, while standing among your shelves?

Along those lines, “Maxymiser found that the top three retail categories most affected by mobile phone use were electronics, apparel and food. Forty-six percent of mobile users were likely to visit an electronics retailer’s mobile website prior to going to a store.

“Mobile office supply and sports product shoppers were least likely to first visit a mobile site before making a purchase, with just 2 percent and 1 percent of respondents reporting this activity, respectively.”

So we weren’t kidding about the red velvet cupcakes! But regardless of your industry, these customer habits will only keep spreading.  Or as the Yahoo! article on the same report says, “There is no longer a clear delineation between in-store and mobile retail shopping, as mobile savvy consumers multi-task throughout the day.”

Your customers, in other words, are already there, whether you are or not. The question is whether you can use these new, and growing, digital shopping trends to benefit your business, as “optimally” as possible.

AVPS is ready to help — with on-the-spot processing, merchant web solutions, smartphone card readers and more, you can keep one step ahead of your customers, and be ready to meet them wherever they are!

Wait — who are we kidding? They’re a smart bunch, those customers! We’ll help you keep even!  Call your AVPS rep today!