The holiday season is notorious for long lines at the check-out counter, overly crowded malls, and the likelihood of the item you are searching for being sold out. It’s a big endeavor, but if you’re looking for the best deals of the year, you will have to stick it out or look for other ways to get the job done.
A PriceGrabber study shows that 13 percent of holiday shoppers are expected to shop from their mobile devices, whether that means researching the best deals around town or making an actual purchase. The main reason consumers are making the switch from shopping mobile versus at brick-and-mortar stores is to avoid the crowds along with the convenience and free shipping.
If you’re looking into some ways to save some time this holiday season, consider some of these options.
Mobile Retail Apps
Retail stores are creating mobile apps that do more than just show what products are for sale. Mobile retail apps can enhance in-store experiences or add level of convenience to shopping. Apple created a mobile app that allows customers to purchase products online and pick them up in-store. It also allows users to authorize other people to pick up the items for you. An app like this can save most people from the long lines at the store and help facilitate smooth, speedy transactions.
Virtual Reality Apps
The frustrating thing about holiday shopping is getting to the items you want quickly. Something like the Zegna 3D iPad App may speed up the process of locating your item. The Italian luxury brand created a virtual retail store for online customers for the iPad where shoppers can enter the cyber-store and shop as if they are in the actual store. Although the app isn’t widely available, brands should consider creating a similar experience so customers will know exactly where to go when they enter the physical stores.
Window shopping usually drives people into stores; however, people will have to face the large crowds and shuffle through the stores to look for the product they saw at the window. The eBay Inspiration Shop turns window shopping into the actual shopping experience. Customers can browse the windows and make purchases through their smartphones. The storefronts are filled with various items with accompanying QR codes. Once the codes are scanned, they are loaded onto a shopping cart, and users can check-out while not ever having to step into the actual store. An idea like this can drastically cut down shopping time which can make for happier customers.
Location-Based Mobile Payments
What is another way to guarantee you get an item you want without having to stand in line? Square’s Card Case app uses the geofencing feature to pinpoint your location and lets you pay by saying your name. Once the app detects a customer is within 100 meters of the store, the app will open up a tab showing the user’s information. When a customer purchases an item, all they have to do is say their name, and the cashier will verify the information and make the transaction with the click of a button. Simplifying purchases can lead to more impulse buying from consumers during the holidays.
Both retailers and consumers will benefit from adopting some of these ideas during the hectic shopping season. Make the shopping experience enjoyable, especially during the busy holidays, and drive consumers on a path to purchase by making your products available outside the physical store or by simplifying the overall shopping experience. Your consumers will consider it the best gift during the holidays.
Ivy Chang, 11.03.11