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

November 22nd, 2011

While many shoppers won’t be battling the crowds this year by buying all of their gifts online, many more will be in line waiting around for the doors to open. Armed with their smartphones and tablets, customers will be using apps which offer up great gift ideas, ways to comparison-shop, as well as 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

An interesting trend this winter holiday 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 specifically 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 exact aisle placement of that prized 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 may 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 instance, is providing mobile-only deals at 6am, which can sway the would-be shopper from waiting 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 at the moment, it may well be the best of both worlds should 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 how the tech itself is in that constant battle for our hard earned cash. And, in this economy, the machines, gadgets and gizmos that offer the most value, will be the ones to beat.

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