10 Ways M-Commerce is Changing the Way We Shop

While wandering around a store looking for dishes to compliment your newly remodeled kitchen, you see them.  The perfect dishes that are exactly what you’ve been searching for!  But, being the savvy shopper that you are, you remember that the store across town is having a sale, and they might have them for cheaper.  Or maybe you could just buy them online for less.  And now that you think about it, you really should read some reviews to make sure that your perfect dishes do well in the dishwasher and won’t scratch too easily. Now, you could put the item back, go to the store across town and check out the sale, or you could even go home and check the prices online. Or you could simply get out your iPhone, click on your comparison shopping app, scan the bar code on the box, and instantly compare prices, read reviews, and even buy them online, all while standing in the store.

With the economy still struggling, many people are looking for the best price and the best value. The pressure of saving money and finding a good deal has led to an obsession with product research and price comparison.  Comparison shopping engines, such as Google Product Search and TheFind, allow consumers to quickly find the best products at the lowest price.  Some comparison shopping engines, including  Shopping.com, Become.com, PriceGrabber, and NexTag,  have taken this one step further, allowing consumers to compare and purchase on the go with comparison shopping applications for the iPhone, iPad, and Android.

Mobile Commerce, also known as M-Commerce, is a rapidly evolving field that is changing the way that people shop and merchants sell.  It is influencing how consumers search, locate products, and decide to purchase the goods both online and in stores. Free mobile applications from comparison shopping engines put the power in the hands of the consumer (literally), allowing them to compare prices, find coupons, and read reviews from their phone.

Here are 10 ways that comparison shopping engine mobile applications can enhance the customer shopping experience:

  1. Barcode Scanning- Scan the barcode on the box or enter in the UPC number to instantly look up product reviews and prices for the exact same product.
  2. Compare local and online prices- Quickly compare bottom line prices (including tax and shipping) from online sellers and local stores to find the very best price.
  3. Check inventories- If a product is out of stock, save time by finding exactly which store has the product you are looking for
  4. Find nearby stores- Get the address, phone number, and directions to the nearest store with product in stock and calculate the cost of gas to get there.
  5. Read product reviews- Read thousands of product and merchant reviews from customers and experts so that you can be confident in the products you chose.
  6. Find coupons and sales- Search for relevant coupons or nearby stores that have your item on sale to ensure you are getting the best possible price.
  7. Create a wishlist- Add items to your favorites list or wishlist if you want to come back for them later or remember the specific product information.
  8. Gift shaker- Use the gift shaker to generate random gift ideas in a variety of shopping categories to help find the perfect present.
  9. Share items with your network- Let your friends know what you bought or what you want by sharing your purchases or wishlist through Twitter, Facebook, and Email
  10. Purchase from your mobile device- If you find the product you want online, purchase it directly from your smartphone and have it shipped to your house.

M-Commerce has limitless possibilities for both consumers and merchants. Smartphones have opened the door to new shopping trends and applications that are changing the way people shop in new and exciting ways.  Still in its infancy, M-Commerce is on the cusp of exploding into the next multi-billion dollar industry, and now is the time to get involved.

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