Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Will new technologies affect the way we shop this holiday season?

While many shoppers won’t be battling the crowds this year by purchasing all of their gifts online, many more will be in line waiting for the doors to open. Armed with their smartphones and tablets, customers will be using apps which offer up great gift ideas, methods to comparison-shop, and even opportunities to buy online while in the store. So, for those of us who fearlessly venture out to the mega-mall, here are just a few ways technology will influence how we’re shopping this holiday season.


Mobile Apps

Perhaps the newest trend is the availability of apps on smartphones and tablets that are especially designed to make your holiday shopping smoother. One allows you to scan a barcode to see if it’s the best deal while another enables you to take a picture of the product and it gives you comparison prices. One app even allows you to beat other customers to the punch by locating the aisle holding that sought after gift.

Smartphone Marketing

One major trend this season is in the strategies taken by marketers to catch us even when we’re not tied to our computers. Smartphone marketing could have a big influence on purchasing, as online retailers hope to strategically time their messages to effectively ambush customers while standing in line. One such marketer, for example, is offering mobile-only deals at 6am, which might sway the would-be shopper from standing in the cold altogether.


Economical Technology Trends

Not only will we be using technology to make our shopping lives simpler, but we will also be looking for the next big improvement. The trend in technology 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 seems to be entering the market every day. Rightly so: the consumer is wary of the economy, will most likely spend less this year, and will be looking for both bargains and value.

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 how 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.

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