Smartphones have become a major influencer of in-store decisions.

Smartphones have become a major influencer of in-store decisions, with many shoppers consulting their phones before and during a store visit. According to research by beacon company Swirl, 85 percent of smartphone owners have used a mobile shopping app while inside a store, 66 percent of whom say their smartphone has influenced a purchase in-store.

While physical retailers initially bemoaned the rise of showrooming, some have been turning customers’ in-store smartphone usage into an opportunity by better syncing their online and offline offerings. Best Buy, for instance, embraced the phenomenon last fall, positioning itself as the “ultimate holiday showroom.” Now brick-and-mortar retailers have a new opportunity to take advantage of smartphones, thanks to the advent of beacons. The low-cost transmitters can precisely track shoppers’ phones, enabling marketers to send highly targeted content via mobile apps and push notifications.

The question is whether shoppers will download these apps and enable push notifications. Swirl says the top two reasons shoppers turn off notifications is that they were not relevant (41 percent) and didn’t provide enough value (37 percent). As this chart shows, the survey found that most are open to notifications about sales and other content relevant to interests or location. Swirl argues that beacon-triggered offers have strong potential to influence decisions in-store—but one major obstacle will be privacy concerns, with consumers wary of tracking technology. The value proposition will have to be notable enough to override those fears.