It’s almost impossible to go anywhere without seeing someone texting, video chatting or making a call from their smartphone. But smartphones aren’t just used for keeping in touch and playing games. Today, consumers also use the technology at their fingertips to research, run price checks and read reviews for a growing array of products they use in their daily lives.

From initial search to providing feedback, mobile shopping expands the e-commerce universe for consumers, retailers and manufacturers alike. Mobile users rely on their devices along the path to purchase either through an all-online process or through an “online-to-store-to-online” process. Even if consumers exit their online pathway to buy offline, mobile is still a vital stepping stone in the shopping journey. This includes searching and using coupons on their mobile device and using lists for shopping (wedding registry, etc.) created either on their mobile device or saved on apps.

In many ways, mobile is giving savvy retailers a leg up over their competitors. That’s because consumers are using the online sites to do everything from find a store to check for discounts and promotions before they make their journeys. These retailers know that in today’s connected world, it’s rare for consumers to make a purchase without going online first to do their homework.