More shoppers are using smartphones for holiday shopping than ever before, but mobile devices don’t seem to be replacing the in-store experience. While 78% of American consumers plan to use their smartphones while doing their holiday shopping – up from 72% last year – most of those shoppers will be using their phones to find store locations, rather than ordering items online.

Retailers have adapted to that need. Store locators are the most common feature on retailers’ mobile sites, employed by 96% of brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Big Box and 97% of brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail. That follows the broader move towards omnichannel, as retailers’ mobile investments shift from attempts at mobile commerce to features that encourage store visits.


In addition to store locators, retailers are investing more in other omnichannel features such as in-store inventory visibility, another feature popular among holiday shoppers. Among Big Box brands tracked by L2, 42% display in-store inventory on their mobile sites, up from 19% last year. The story is similar for Specialty Retail, where 39% of brands let shoppers check inventory on their mobile phones, more than three times the number that employed the feature in 2014.

Even if shoppers aren’t making purchases online, they do seek the detailed information on products that comes with mobile commerce. More than half of holiday shoppers use their smartphones to compare prices or browse online. Retailers that fail to invest in those key features will lose out to their more digitally savvy counterparts.


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