Mobile Price Checkers Arrive
By Tom Ryan
Brother has reached the store. According to an Associated Press article,
at least a few tech-savvy shoppers are scanning barcodes with their cell
phone cameras to load into price comparison internet sites while standing
in store aisles.
As an example,
the article noted that Briana Carter, 31, recently found a $40 pink laptop
cooling pad at a Kohl’s in Indiana. After scanning its bar code with her
iPhone and using an application called ShopSavvy, she found the same item
for $25 at Amazon. Ms. Carter bought the pad from Amazon while still inside
are increasing amid a proliferation of price-comparison websites with mostly-free
apps to support mobile access, according to the article. Pricegrabber.com’s
new iPhone application also lets shoppers compare prices and buy from websites
anywhere. Similar websites, Pronto.com and dealio.com, are also accessible
through web-enabled cell phones.
The New York Times on Friday reported that one in five shoppers intend to use their cellphones to shop this holiday season, based on an annual survey by Deloitte. Of those, 45 percent plan to use their phone to research prices, 32 percent said they would use it to find coupons or read reviews and 25 percent intend to make purchases from their phones.
is also growing with the rise of smart phones with go-anywhere web access.
Nielsen Co. predicts that the majority of cell phones in the U.S. will
employ smart phone technology by 2011, up from about 18 percent currently.
At the same
time, the AP article points out that a few shoppers are using their
web-enabled cell phones at stores to download coupons. Sites such as CouponSherpa.com,
Savings.com, Retailmenot.com, Getowza.com and Shopping-bargains.com use
a shopper’s location to find coupons for nearby stores. Customers only
have to show the coupon’s code at the register to get the discount.
Recognizing the trend, more and more retailers
are also listing deals on coupon sites as another way to reach consumers,
according to AP. Savings.com now lists coupons for up to 4,000 retailers,
up from about 1,000 a few years ago.
30, of Vernon Hills, Ill., hunts down savings on her phone across a variety
of categories. If she’s in a supermarket and sees an item she doesn’t have
a coupon for, she logs on to her phone, checks coupontom.com, and downloads
“I’m sort of
giddy about it,” she told the Associated Press, of her e-coupon
finds. “It’s like you’ve won something.”
Questions: How serious a challenge to retailer pricing management is
mobile access to price-comparison or coupon-downloading websites? What adjustments
may brick & mortars
have to make before smart phone technology becomes more pervasive?