If you’ve joined us lately, you are aware that we’re running a series of blogs on our annual holiday shopping survey*. As the highest ranking year yet for online sales with over 35 billion in revenue, it’s understandable retailers are eager to find new ways to enhance the customer experience through technology. Mobile is at the top of many e-commerce executives’ lists. But where and how should they invest? And from a consumer standpoint, who is making the purchase: the on-the-run mobile phone shopper or the couch-surfing tablet enthusiast?

Baynote Annual Shopping Survey in 2011 and 2012:

Survey Stat: 14.4% of consumers (up from 12.6% in last year’s shopping survey) used their mobile phones to purchase over the holidays.

What it Means: Enabling purchasing on phones is a nice to have for many retailers. However, according to our survey, 77.6% of consumers are using their phones as a shopping aid, primarily for research and comparison shopping.With this in mind, we recommend that retailers not just look at mobile as a selling tool but as a research tool. Think of ways you can help shoppers get more information on the products you sell or compare products in an effective, clear and unobtrusive way.

Survey Stat: 23% of those surveyed said that their personalized shopping experiences on a tablet exceeded expectations.

What it means: The higher quality of the consumer experience, the higher value of the channel. While smartphones won the vote for met expectations (64.7%), tablets won the vote for exceeded expectations (23%). More and more retailers have had time to integrate mobile strategies and incorporate personalized experiences, whereas tablets are still in their infancy. Since we know that users are primarily using mobile to comparison shop, and tablet to comparison shop and purchase, the likelihood that the tablet experience exceeded their expectations is increased.

The strategic use of mobile and tablet will open doors for retailers. However, what consumers want is convenience. It isn’t about just being on mobile, social, or tablet but instead providing a positive experience and seamless transition between them all.