As I walked through Bed, Bath and Beyond and PETSmart tonight (Saturday), I was amazed that there were no crowds, no craziness and no disagreements about prices or out of stock products. When I needed help locating an item, the customer service rep was ready to look up my item on her computer to make sure they were in stock and, if not, she would order one online.
It was a different story on Black Friday, which began in some stores at 3 am on Thanksgiving Morning. People camped out and waited in line for hours. Any store that advertised discounted electronics were hit early and hard.
A Wal-Mart in Austin had a power failure right before the doors were to open at 5 am. As time passed, the line went around the store. No one knew whether to give up their prized place in line or go shopping somewhere else.
A new study from Leo Burnett and Arc Worldwide demonstrates that the recession helped alter our mindsets. Now, we come to retail stores fully armed with information. Mobile takes this process to the next step. Check the aisles in a major retailer and you will see people using their phones to check prices, find availability and send photos to their friends.
The Yahoo Mobile Framework Study performed with Nielsen shows that 9 out of 10 mobile users access the mobile Web in a store. And about half of all mobile Web activity in a store is related to shopping. In fact, mobile users are demonstrating behaviors that are already far ahead of the mobile ecosystem. Almost half of all of those using mobile phones in-store have sent phone camera images of a product to someone.Of course, mobile coupons, shopping hotlinks, mini-malls and the next great innovation will change your stopping experience even more. I like this idea. If we shop online, we use less gas, which means less pollution less money spent on gas. Mostly, using your Smart phone as a tool, with in-store or online shipping, is going to make Holiday shopping a breeze.