For retailers, the smartphone is future of store experience

NEW YORK (AP) — Retailers are taking back some control of the store experience with smartphone app features that let customers do things like scan and pay, as well as download digital maps.

The approach marks a big departure from just a few years ago when retailers viewed the smartphone as their enemy — customers often whipped out their device to compare prices online and walked out of the store to buy elsewhere.

Now companies are taking their cues from shoppers, who are increasingly using their mobile devices to make purchases.

But there’s still room for improvement. Stores need to do a better job of promoting their mobile checkout while working out some kinks. They also need to make their in-store Wi-Fi service more reliable, analysts say.

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