Mobile, Mortar and the Scan and Scram Shopper
Yesterday, I went to the closing sale at my local Borders (sigh, and yes, I have book sales on the brain today). They had blu-ray box sets marked down 40%, so thinking I was getting a great deal, I decided to buy one. After I bought it, I used my Google Goggles to look up the item online and found that the price I paid was the same as Amazon’s everyday, low price. If I had scanned before I bought the item, I probably wouldn’t have bought it as it wasn’t the great deal I had hoped for. I would have been a “Scan and Scram Shopper,” and I’m not sure how I feel about that.
Reporting from the CTIA Wireless 2011 conference, CNBC says;
[The Scan and Scram Shopper] accounted for about 24 percent of last season holiday sales. And those numbers are only going to increase. According to recent IDC Retail Insight findings, these hyper-connected individuals will account for 28 percent or $127 billion of the $447 billion predicted that consumers will spend this holiday season.
While that may sound like bad news for the retail establishment that lost the sale, the report says that it’s good news over all because m-commerce, as opposed to e-commerce, has the power to connect consumers with brick and mortar stores like never before.
Scott Ellison, Vice President of Mobile & Consumer Connected Platforms at IDC says;
“From a bricks and mortar perspective, the winners are those retailers that can create apps that drive users into the store and then engage them even further. A great example is Puma and their in-store iPad app that allows you to create your own shoe while looking at swatches of materials in your hand. That transforms the online ordering experience at home to one that a shopper wants to go to the store to do, and of course once in the store the cross-selling opportunities abound.”
The Wireless Association says that the biggest area of untapped gold is in location-based shopping apps. If an app can tell a customer where to find what he needs within a five mile radius of where he is – that’s a powerful tool. I might be loyal to Target but if I find out Kmart has it cheaper and closer, I’m going to Kmart.
Amazon may have replaced Borders but they’re not going to replace my neighborhood Staples. Not when I’m running out of toner and have to print 60 copies of a presentation by tomorrow. I can order gourmet pasta online, but not if I want to have it for dinner tonight. But with the right app on my phone, I can find that same brand of pasta at the Trader Joe’s which is next to a Kinkos so I can get my presentations copied while I shop for dinner. That’s the power of mobile.
As for “Scan and Scram,” I still feel funny pulling out my phone to scan barcodes in a store. I’ve also heard stories about people who were told it wasn’t allowed. But store owners shouldn’t fear the scan. If you do have what I need at a good price, then I’ll stay instead of scram.