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TheStreet Open House

Perception Research Services Unveils Bricks And Clicks -- The New Realities Of Retailing

TEANECK, N.J., Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent research from Perception Research Services (PRS), a shopper and packaging research company, showed that shoppers are combining the digital and non-digital worlds when it comes to making product purchases, rather than exclusively utilizing one or the other vehicle.

PRS' research revealed that ownership of smart phones now outpaces that of traditional mobile phones. More than half (54%) of the shoppers surveyed own a smart phone (versus 45% for traditional) and a majority (76%) use them while shopping. 

While smart phones are used by some to make purchases, they're mostly used to gather information. Roughly half of those who do use their smart phones while shopping use them to check prices, find promotions, read product reviews, or get product information. The most common categories to shop with smart phones are Electronics (64%), Consumer Packaged Goods (57%) and Clothing/Apparel (54%).

It appears that the use of QR codes may be playing a role in shopping with smart phones – especially for gathering product information, comparing prices and seeking promotions. Although not broadly known by name (only 57% are aware of the term "QR code"), most (94%) recognize them when seeing one, and nearly half (44%) of those who use smart phones while shopping have used QR codes. This number will only go up as QR codes become more widespread and their functionality becomes more meaningful.

The PRS study also examined "showrooming" – the phenomenon of examining a product in a store but purchasing it online. Showrooming has gotten a lot of attention in the press and many big box retailers are concerned about their stores being used as a convenient display area for the products of online sellers.

In fact, our data showed that about half (45%) of online purchases are made after viewing the product in a store – and it is very much dependent on the type of product. Not surprisingly, showrooming occurs mostly for big ticket items that are purchased infrequently such as electronics, appliances, and baby products. The amount of money that can be saved makes spending the extra time and effort worthwhile, but shoppers also want to be sure that the products meet their requirements.

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