With the ease and security of online shopping, you’d think everyone would be shopping from home this winter season. Of course, that’s far from the truth. 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 holiday season is appearing in mobile apps for both smartphones and tablets. These apps are specifically created to make your in-store shopping experience as easy as possible. One app in particular enables 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 precise aisle placement of that prized gift.
Another interesting trend this season is in the strategies taken by marketers to hook us even when we’re not tied to our computers. Smartphone marketing could be the next big step in reaching consumers, and this holiday season will basically be the beta test. Many marketing agencies have set out to contact shoppers while they’re waiting in long lines, and offering big deals and discounts in “mobile-only” purchases.
Economical Technology Trends
Not only will we be using technology to make our shopping lives simpler, but we will also be on the lookout for the next big advancement. The trend in technology itself is seen in the battle of the tablets—at half the cost, the Kindle Fire is posing a threat to iPad’s dominance, and a new iPhone competitor appears to be entering the market every day. Rightly so: the consumer is cautious about the economy, will most likely spend less this year, and will be looking for both bargains and value.
For those of us set on going to the brick-and-mortars this season, technology can be a great help, from finding great prices to gift ideas. Apps can help us while we’re in the store, and our mobile phones may ring signaling that we’re paying too much! But the trends that make our shopping easier may take a backseat to those that signal the sign of these times: only the technologies that provide the best value will be the hot commodities as the economy continues to stumble along.