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Facebook Tests Play Now, Pay Later Plan

Sometimes you need a virtual magic gem stone right now and you simply don’t have the money to pay for it! What’s a person to do? Same as in real life – charge it!

Facebook is rolling out a play now, pay later plan which will allow people to buy virtual goods on credit then pay off the balance with Paypal or a credit card at a later date. Inside Facebook suggests that this may be a clever way to get people to upload card information which can later be used to facilitate impulse buying. The program could lead to a one-click payment option such as you find on Amazon and that would be a big move for Facebook.

Google Looks to Help You Get Dressed With Boutiques.com

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has talked about being able to help people decide what to do next or to even know what is best to do next (just Google “creepy CEO ideas” and you’ll see his full library, no kidding). Now through its new Boutiques.com (which was the offspring of the Like.com purchase of a year ago) Google can help women decide what to buy and wear! Cool in one way but creepy in another but it is what it is.

The Official Google Blog tells us

The way we shop for fashion is different from how we buy cameras—especially online. With fashion, reviews and specs are less important; fashion shopping is about discovering something that fits your taste and feels right. The web works well for buying cameras and other hard goods but for soft goods, such as clothing and accessories, it’s not the same as shopping in a store.

Radio Shack Wants You To Check-in Somewhere Else

Radio Shack is running an interesting new Foursquare promotion that asks you to check-in some place other than your local Radio Shack. How odd is that? The badge you’re looking for is called Holiday Heroes and when you earn it you get a coupon good for 20% off your purchase.

To get the badge, Radio Shack is asking you to check into “Hero Hotspots,” which include MidTown Comics and the Golden Gate Bridge. The write up also mentions a gym and a coffee shop because all heroes need to stay in shape and then get a jolt of caffeine.  After you check-in at two of these places, you visit your local Radio Shack and the badge and discount is yours.

Are Deal Sites Making Consumers Jaded?

If you visit Whole Foods in the next few weeks, you could earn yourself a refreshing Tazo tea just for checking-in at the checkout counter. The promotion is being run by Foursquare competitor Gowalla and it includes opportunities to earn a $25 Whole Foods gift certificate or other related “goodies.”

This is another great example of using location-based apps to promote a product so I was surprised to see a writer for Daily Finance taking the program to task.

“Um, wonderful. So I’m going to check in at Whole Foods and enter a contest to win a whopping $25 gift card and maybe some special team items that aren’t even mentioned in this promo. I’m sorry, Gowalla. A contest for a $25 gift card simply isn’t going to cut it in an era of total Groupon frenzy with 75% discounts on hot restaurants”

Google Adds Product Search Enhancements Sometime in the Very Near Future … We Guess

In fine Google fashion the search giant has ‘announced’ some feature additions to their Product Search offering that can be explained in post on their blog but not replicated in the wild (at least by the blogger yet). As was pointed out to me, the post actually said the improvements would be made ‘this week’ so silly me for reading a post on new features and assuming that they could actually be used.

At any rate, when these changes come down the pike Google’s Product Search will have some new features that will include “In Stock” notifications and a way to find what nearby stores have the item you are looking for. Of course that is assuming that the retailer is part of the program etc, etc, etc.

Consumers Plan to Use Mobile Phones for Holiday Shopping

59% of mobile consumers plan to use their mobile phone for holiday shopping and planning holiday celebrations, not including making phone calls. That’s a huge jump over 2009, when the number was only 25%.

The numbers come from the October 2010 U.S. Mobile Consumer Briefing, which was conducted on behalf of the The Mobile Marketing Association and it’s even further proof that mobile marketing is on the rise.

Of those who expected to use their phone to faciliate shopping, 64% said they’re check their phone before going to a store, but only 12% said it would be in response to a  TV, billboard or newspaper ad. What are they using the phones for? To search for locations where a gift is sold and to compare prices were the two most common responses.

TV Ads Don’t Equal Big Sales for Online Products

You’re the author of a book on how to turn kitchen waste into cash and you want to spread the word. So what do you do? Why not invest in a snazzy TV commercial to play on the Food Network or during Pawn Stars. This is your audience, foodies who love to treasure hunt! But author Joel Comm says don’t waste your money because despite all the hype, TV ads are not the stuff dreams are made on.

It goes back to the early days of TV, when Ralph and Norton demonstrated the Handy Housewife Helper and Lucy proclaimed that Vitameatavegamin was so tasty, too! For years, sitcoms have taught us that a single TV commercial can result in an avalanche of sales which generally left our TV hero struggling to meet the demand with comical results.  In reality, a TV commercial is just another tool in the tool kit and not always the best tool for the job.