Smartphone shopping assistant – Reality and outlook

Daniel Kostyra

The smartphone, a handy shopping companion in the offline world. An idea that many might even deny at first. Shopping usually means: Being packed with bags, strolling through the passages of a mall and looking for this wonderful designer espresso machine but not finding it. Standing in line at check-out forever and then realizing that you forgot your customer rewards card. In this context you only think about your smart phone when pondering about the plans for the night on WhatsApp in the café afterwards.

Still, nowadays a majority already uses their smartphone to make the shopping experience more pleasant [1]Of course not consistently, but in sections. Certainly not every time, but regularly. This can start with route planning to the mall or checking opening hours. Maybe an online retailer had already been searched in advance, prices compared and the availability checked at the shopping center.

And even in the store many situation arise that can be solved with the help of the smartphone today:

  • Obtaining information through manufacturer pages (since no salesperson is close by)
  • Reading product reviews in the online shop to reduce information asymmetry 
  • Checking special offers on the store’s website in order not to miss anything
  • Reviewing own shopping list because you couldn’t remember everything


Smartphone apps also offer in-store advantages for the customer

We do this almost subconsciously, since it is so easy and quick by now.

Accordingly, we will use additional functions in the future as soon as they are user-friendly integrated into the smartphone:

  • Quick and cash free payment
  • Personalized coupons directly to the smartphone when entering the store
  • Store navigation to the product of our choice (i. e. finally finding the designer espresso machine)
  • Automatically collecting rewards points - without customer rewards card


It is still difficult to foresee in what form and to what extent these functions will manifest in the end. Currently most users don’t want an isolated solution in the form of many individual retailer apps and a lot of them have concerns regarding data protection. Here, either a very large retailer or an association of several organizations have to prove innovational spirit in order to move the topic forward. 

>[1] Source: “Cross Channel: Acceptance of Digitalization at POS”, 2014, fittkaumass

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Daniel Kostyra

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Daniel Kostyra has been working as a Consultant for Cocomore since June 2014. Before he was a research assistant in Marketing at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. If you ask him, what he is doing at Cocomore, he says: “I know, what I do, even if I can’t always explain, what I make”.

Describing Kosy in four words: curious, talkative, black humor, not bearded.