Smart PhonesMore and more consumers are using their mobile phones as a primary tool when making purchase decisions. They check out sales, compare prices, and get input from their network of friends when they are considering a purchase – all on their mobile devices. Retailers are beginning to understand and take advantage of this. Are you?

Consider the iPhone app Shopkick that rewards users for simply walking into stores like Best Buy or Macy’s. As of Feb 14, according to Mashable.com, Shopkick’s 750,000 users have amassed 100 million check-ins. On the flip side, Facebook users can use “Places” to give their current location on thier home page. Think about that. Retailers who understand this are using these features to offer special deals and buying suggestions to nearby customers. Some offer real-time product reviews.

If I am in Best Buy and have a question about a Flip camcorder or how different TV models compare, I can tweet a question and a Best Buy employee will answer my tweet while I am still in the store. According to a recent survey by Booz & Company, browsing-to-purchase conversion rates increase by as much as 240 percent when consumers view product ratings and reviews when they are shopping.

It’s that little boost of confidence that can tip the behavior scale from consideration to buy. If you are a retailer, you need to start thinking about what an integrated shopping experience would be for your customers. How can you reach out to them, get them into your store, and keep them there as they consider a purchase? If you don’t, your competitors will, and they will capture sales that could be yours.