Report Says Over 80 Percent of Smartphone-Savvy Shoppers Do Last-Second Yellow Page Research Before Buying Retail


NEW YORK, NY - It’s become a commonplace ritual whenever you head to any sort of retail establishment; before plunking down the dough on an expensive big-screen television set or a pricey winter coat, you’ll notice shoppers putting on the breaks while they perform a now-standard ritual- whipping out their smartphones for a quick, last-second yellow pages lookup of any competitor selling the same item at a potentially lower price.


In this day and age where people are pinching every penny in order to get by, it only makes sense to assure yourself that you’re getting the best possible deal for your money; in fact, according to reports, over 82 percent of shoppers will turn to the yellow pages on their smartphones in order to do product research at the last possible moment before committing to a purchase, often when they’re already standing in the check-out line. They could be comparing prices among competing brands or retailers, checking reviews, or any number of other activities, and it’s happening more and more these days due to the ubiquity of internet-enabled cell phone technology.


Smartphone use as it pertains to shopping is getting to the point that, according to one study, consumers are more likely to consult with their phone than actually bothering to talk to a flesh-and-blood sales associate at any given store prior to making a purchase. In a recent survey, 58 percent of shoppers said that their smartphones are most commonly used in stores to look up reviews and product information on a potential item that they are interested in buying, followed by 54 percent of shoppers who said that they used their mobile devices to check and compare prices before committing to a sale.


In addition, it’s also been found that at least 40 percent of shoppers will conduct yellow page searches in order to locate and download coupons before making a purchase, so if a retailer is interested in increasing foot traffic to their stores, enticing the public with not only a mobile-friendly website design, but some digital discounts as well, is a sure way to do so.


The evolution of shopping in this manner comes as no surprise, as smartphone searches related to shopping jumped approximately 120 percent last year, and have only continued to increase as times goes by. Clearly, phones are playing a bigger and bigger role in not only driving shoppers to retail, but also helping them to decide what to buy once they get there. In fact, research finds that 50 percent of shoppers that conduct a local yellow page search on their phone will visit a store within 24 hours or less, and about 20 percent of those searches will result in a purchase.


How many time have you looked up a business on the yellow pages, however, and found frustration when you realized that you had no way of knowing if the item you were looking for on their website was actually in-stock at a location near you? A helpful feature that retailers have begun to implement in an effort to drive traffic to brick-and-mortar stores – as opposed to losing sales to online-only sales – is the ability to track and display an up-to-date online inventory list, and retailers that invest in this feature have seen a whopping 122 percent bump in store visits from consumers who initially visited their websites looking for a certain item, saw that it was in-stock locally, and decided to pick it up. Clearly, if it comes down to ordering online and waiting several days for delivery – and often paying a hefty shipping fee as well – or simply driving down to a local store and buying it the same day, shoppers are opting for the latter out of both savings and convenience.


As you can see, the ability to access the internet and conduct valuable research via the yellow pages on any purchase that a consumer may be contemplating in-store has truly changed the way retail is handled in a variety of ways. Many stores are now pouring money into enabling a greater synergy between their websites and their physical locations in an effort to drive more shoppers to their stores and increase their profits, including creating downloadable smartphone apps that allow customers to scan bar-codes, check prices, and even pay for their purchases when it comes time to check out. Indeed, technology has changed the shopping experience for good, and it will be interesting to see how it continues to evolve as time goes by.