As mobile usage becomes ubiquitous, the path to purchase is becoming less defined. Shoppers are always connected, well-informed and often quick to convert both digitally and in-store. The traditional shopping phases still exist, but once smartphones are introduced, behavior shifts, as explored in a new eMarketer report, “The Changing Path to Purchase: What It Means to Add Mobile to the Mix.”

Broadly speaking, shoppers crave consistency. When internet users in North America were polled by Magnetic and Retail TouchPoints in April 2015, 59% of respondents cited consistency between digital channels and in-store as the most important part of a retail experience, while consistency across devices was vital to 54%. When retailers in the same study were asked about information provided to customers along the shopping journey, only 36% claimed to be offering a seamless experience across mobile and desktop.

Even though a subpar experience would be unwelcome during any phase of shopping, US mobile buyers surveyed by Contact Solutions in June 2015 were less concerned with points along the journey (product comparison ranked highest) and thought the most critical stage was while using the product itself (25.9%).

Desiring a good experience with a product or service makes sense, though the interactions leading up to and after buying will definitely cloud brand impression and future intent.

Overall, mobile is having a striking effect on shopping behavior in all settings, and it is no longer the sole province of out-and-about smartphone users or those buying inexpensive products or services in short windows of time. What consumers want is changing and retailers are having to keep up.

Read at eMarketer