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A new study suggests that the explosive adoption of mobile devices will help, not hurt brick and mortar shops — challenging the fear that ecommerce firms like Amazon are a death knell to local commerce.

Commissioned by G/O Digital, a marketing firm owned by the Gannett media empire, the study recorded the shopping preferences of 13,000 smartphone and tablet-wielding adults (who use the firm’s Key Ring app) and found that smartphones pose no threat to brick and mortar businesses. Instead, G/O Digital claims, smartphone owners increasingly use their devices to hunt for coupons, and more often than not, these mobile-coupon-hunters choose to buy their discounted products in-store — not online.

Here are three of the report’s most interesting claims, which G/O Digital has shared exclusively with VentureBeat ahead of the study’s release tomorrow.

1. iBeacons & push-notifications drive brick-and-mortar sales

The opportunity for on-ground retailers, the study claims, rests “heavily on how brands and retailers leverage iBeacons and push-notification technology to deliver more contextually relevant and proximity- aware advertising to shoppers in real-time. The end goal should be to create a seamless, customer-focused shopping experience – from the second screen to physical stores – that is as easy-to-use, intuitive, and engaging as possible.”

2. Shoppers care more about coupons than shopping online

On mobile devices, coupon hunting beats online shopping as the most common commerce activity, the G/O Digital study claims. In addition, 47.4 percent of study respondents say “they are most likely to purchase an item in-store that they have been researching or planning from their mobile device ‘when the item goes on sale’ or ‘when I find a coupon.’,” G/O Digital shares.

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3. Every sector differs

Deals don’t always drive sales as depicted above, cautions G/O Digital: “Purchase influencers are not identical across retail categories. The convenience of everyday low prices (20.7 percent) trumps discounts for grocery shoppers. Apparel and shoe shoppers, on the other hand, set their sights on sales and clearance items (60.7 percent). Meanwhile, ratings and reviews (54.4 percent) top the list of influencing factors for electronics and technology purchases.”


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