Published on December 17th, 2010 | by Babar Bhatti2
How Mobile Phones are Disrupting Retailers
Over the last few years, a clear trend has been emerging. More information is available to users through digital channels. From a consumer perspective, it means that they can shop around more easily. Online sites provided a great deal of info on products and pricing. In the next and more interesting phase, the information is now available on cell phones, at the point of sale. Download one of the many apps, go to a store, scan the bar code and there the info is. This is of course a big concern for retail stores.
This article describes how disruptive is this trend for retailers in the US. I see this trend grow quickly to other countries, though a lack of product pricing database is going to be an obvious a problem. The WSJ article mentions:
Some of the most vulnerable merchants: sellers of branded, big-ticket items like electronics and appliances, which often prompt buyers to comparison shop. Best Buy, the nation’s largest electronics chain, said Tuesday that it may lose market share this year, a downward trend that some analysts are attributing in part to pressure from price comparison apps.
Dozens of mobile shopping apps are already available through Apple Inc.’s iTunes, and programmers are busy developing many more to transform smartphones into shopping weapons. Many of them use phone cameras to photograph bar codes and QR codes, or simply let users speak a product’s name into their devices.