With the convenience and security of online shopping, you’d think everyone would be shopping at home this winter season. Of course, that’s not the case. Thousands of bargain hunters will be lined up waiting for the retail stores to open. And these savvy shoppers will have new bargain-hunting weapons at their disposal: cellular devices. Everyone with a smartphone or tablet will have with them specifically designed apps to help them navigate everything from where an item is in a store, to seeing if it is the best price, to being able to buy it online—in the store. Here are just a few of the ways technology is influencing our habits this holiday season.
An interesting trend this winter holiday is appearing in mobile apps for both smartphones and tablets. These apps are specifically designed to make your in-store shopping experience as easy as possible. One app specifically allows you to scan a barcode with your smartphone and it will compare that products price to other stores and online retailers. Another app even lets you take a picture of the product, and it will likewise compare prices and availability. Still another allows you to skip the directory and locate the exact aisle placement of that prized gift.
One major trend this season is in the techniques taken by marketers to catch us even when we’re not tied to our computers. Smartphone marketing may have a big effect on purchasing, as online retailers hope to strategically time their messages to effectively ambush customers while standing in line. One such marketer, for instance, is offering mobile-only deals at 6am, which can sway the would-be shopper from standing in the cold altogether.
Economical Technology Trends
This holiday season, we’ll have technology on our side in a number of ways. It will give us nearly unlimited access to pricing, availability, shipping costs, and more at our fingertips. And, at the same time, technology itself is in a battle for our attention. The Kindle Fire, iPad’s newest rival, is posing a real threat at over half the price. Apple’s iPhone is facing new competition every day. So for the consumer presently, it may well be the best of both worlds if they have the means.
Of course not all of us will be camped out in front of our computers making our holiday purchases this year. Many will have their smartphones and tablets at the ready to do battle against shop and shopper alike. But as technology gives us greater freedom as consumers to purchase wisely, we must also acknowledge the way the tech itself is in that constant battle for our money. And, in this economy, the machines, gadgets and gizmos that offer the most value, will be the ones to beat.