Courting mobile shoppers can pay off for physical as well as digital stores, as smartphone shopping has become a new “front door” for retailers.

That’s according to research compiled by Google, which found mobile-shopping related searches not only reveal information about the shopper but can lead to more in-store purchases.

Cross-channel shoppers are an important bunch. MasterCard determined that omnichannel shoppers buy 250 percent more than those who shop in a single channel, and Macy’s found that omnichannel shoppers are eight times more valuable.

Google said mobile shopping-related searches increased 120 percent in the past year and can reveal what the shopper is looking for, where they are and what kind of person is shopping.

Before a purchase, the mobile shopper wants local information. “Near me” Google searches grew 2.4 times in the past year, and 18 percent of local searches lead to a purchase. Shoppers also want to know what’s in nearby stores. Google said that after Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores used ads that show shoppers what is in stock near them (called Local Inventory Ads), the stores saw a 122 percent increase in visits.

Smartphones can also serve as an in-store adviser. Google found that 82 percent of shoppers surveyed (all of whom were Internet users) said they turn to their phones when buying in stores. One in four said they changed their minds after looking up details. The search giant said Sephora, which has a mobile app that provides information and reviews of a scanned product, was a “leader” in treating this dynamic as a “major opportunity.”

“It’s essential to be there on mobile, yes,” said Google director of marketing for performance ads Matt Lawson. “But it’s even more important to create rich and relevant experiences that connect your stores with shoppers in all of their micro-moments — and encourage those shoppers to come back again and again.”

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