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

Business Technology | November 22, 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. Equipped with their smartphones and tablets, customers will be using apps which offer up great gift ideas, ways 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, take a look at 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 permits 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 provides you with comparison prices. One app even lets you 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 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 example, is offering mobile-only deals at 6am, which can sway the would-be shopper from waiting in the cold altogether.

Economical Technology Trends

This season we’ll be using technology in ways we hadn’t even dreamed of 5 years ago—shopping with a tablet in hand and phone strapped to our ear. And the good news is, with the economy’s outlook, the technology itself is in a billion-dollar battle to produce high quality products for the least amount. So the consumer wins in a way, if they have the means to purchase anything at all this holiday season.

For those of us intent on visiting the brick-and-mortars this season, technology can be a great help, from finding great prices to gift ideas. Apps might 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 offer the very best value will be the hot commodities as the economy continues to stumble along.


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