The holiday season is upon us, the time of year when consumers shop the most. As technology has evolved through the years, so has the way we shop. A growing number of people have taken online shopping to the next level and are browsing and buying with their mobile devices.
Have you shopped or made a purchase with your mobile phone or tablet? It is a convenient and fast way to get deals, compare prices, and make purchases. In this special focus, the team at JustAskGemalto will give you all the details on shopping with your mobile device and all of the tips and tricks you need to make the most of it.
Mobile Commerce on the Rise
More people have smart mobile devices, and more people use these devices to surf the web, so it makes sense that mobile commerce (or m-commerce) is growing. eMarketer has forecasted that, in the United States, 37.5 million consumers over fourteen years old will make at least one purchase on their mobile device in 2012. What’s more, m-commerce is expected to double to 6.7 billion dollars in 2011, and then grow another 73 percent in 2012 to 11.6 billion dollars.
This growth was evident this past Thanksgiving weekend. IBM’s Coremetrics studied the shopping habits of consumers over the popular shopping weekend and found that 6.6 percent of consumers used a mobile device to make a purchase on Cyber Monday, up from 2.3 percent last year. On Black Friday, 9.8 percent consumers made purchases with their mobile devices, up from 3.2 percent last year. PayPal reported astonishing mobile sales, saying that mobile sales on Cyber Monday alone were up 552 percent.
Given this rise in mobile commerce, retailers are making it easier than ever for you to get the best deals using your mobile phone, making mobile device shopping not only convenient, but a good way to help you save money too.
Never Miss an Auction or Sale
One of the best uses of your mobile device for shopping is the ability to keep track of deals when you are on-the-go. Most retailers today have mobile websites to make browsing easier. Your device can be especially useful for time-sensitive shopping, such as auctions on eBay or sales on flash sale sites like Gilt, RueLaLa, and HauteLook. These sites even offer apps to make your shopping easier.
QR (Quick Response) codes are a popular and fun way to get information from a retailer on your mobile device. A QR code is a type of matrix barcode; when scanned, it can trigger an action like going to a website or downloading a file. Retailers today encode QR codes with information like website URLs, coupons, promotions, giveaways, and more.
Mall of America ran an interesting promotion using QR codes this past Black Friday. The promotion, called “Snap and Win,” had 300 people choose a QR code from a pool of 100 to scan. Once the consumer scanned it, the code revealed a prize of anywhere from 25 dollars to a shopping spree worth $1000.
If you have a smart mobile device with a camera, you can get set up to read QR codes easily. Simply find a free app (there are many available), and start scanning. Watch for QR codes in magazines, direct mail, in stores, and even on TV. One word of caution: because QR codes launch applications and/or websites, there can be security concerns. To keep your mobile device protected, a good rule of thumb is to only scan QR codes from vendors or advertisers you know.
Mobile-only coupons can really help you save money. These are coupons only for your mobile device that can be redeemed at the physical point-of-sale (POS) or online. Mobile coupons are really increasing in popularity and used as a tool for retailers to boost your use of their mobile apps. Juniper Research reported that the redemption value of mobile coupons will increase from 5.4 billion dollars in 2011 to 43 billion dollars by 2016.
Be on the lookout for advertisements and promotions where downloading a retailers app can earn you access to exclusive coupons. Walgreen’s recently introduced mobile coupons available exclusively through its app that you can redeem in-store. Victoria’s Secret recently advertised on Pandora that consumers who downloaded their app would receive a free gift and exclusive deals.
There are even apps designed to help you find coupons on the Internet, or near you. The free app Coupon Sherpa, for example, can send real-time in-store coupons straight to your phone. Another free app, Yowza, is designed specifically to help you find location-based deals. Looking for Internet deals? The dealnews app allows you to browse over 100 deals a day from over 2000 online retailers, and even set up alerts so you don’t miss sales.
One of the struggles of shopping is asking ourselves, “Did I get the best price?” It is a lot easier to be confident if you use your mobile device to compare prices. In the store about the buy a TV? Check many of the available price comparison apps to make sure you are getting the best deal. Look at PC Magazine for reviews of ten of the most popular apps, including Consumer Reports Mobile Shopper 2012 and Amazon Price Check.
What’s Coming: NFC
Soon, there will be even more ways to get money-saving deals with your smart mobile device. Near Field Communications (NFC) technology is poised for tremendous growth in the next few years. While NFC payments are a very exciting prospect, smart posters and mobile marketing are actually expected to be the fasted growing segment for the technology.
With NFC, you simply hold your phone close to a reader to make a transaction. Beyond payments, NFC readers can be equipped on smart posters, product displays, or even a product itself to deliver coupons and promotions directly to your device. For example, imagine going to a play, and receiving 10 dollars off refreshments via a smart poster in the lobby. We are getting closer to this being a reality. According to ABI Research’s John Devlin, companies such as Google, Nokia, and RIM are exploring the marketing possibilities for NFC technology.
To Sum Up:
• With your smart mobile device, you can shop, make purchases, and save money
• Mobile commerce will reach 11.6 billion dollars in 2012
• QR codes are a popular way for retailers to deliver promotions to your mobile devices, while NFC is the wave of the future
• Apps for coupon aggregating and price comparisons can help you get the best deals and save the most money