Before all the awesome technology that we now have at our disposal, cashiers would yell out to someone in the store “Price Check Please” and someone would come up to the register, take a look at the product, go back to the aisle to find a similar product and then hurry (In some cases) back to the register to provide the correct price or to confirm. Usually this was followed by “Spill in Aisle 5”. 🙂
Well, things have certainly changed. As we know, products are scanned via a UPC (Universal Product Code), we present coupons that are also scanned using a bar code (either on our smartphones or by handing over a coupon) or using a QR (Quick Response) code to redeem our deal or special offer. When on-line we use promotional codes that we have access to via our e-mail or through a quick search to find one that may be active. Most on-line commerce sites provide an area for promotional codes at check-out. These have become a standard for most on-line shoppers looking for a better deal; and aren’t we all.
When visiting a brick and mortar store, we have access to price check kiosks where we can scan an item for the price and other details, such as nutritional, before we get to the register to check-out. We also have access to in-store hand held devices that enable us to scan all of our products while we shop and to access our frequent shopper history so that we know what we purchased in the past, what specials we can use, product and nutritional recommendations and many other “benefits” for the customer – as you know there is huge benefit for the retailer as they learn more and more about your behavior so they can improve the relevance of their communications with you.
And then of course we have these incredible smartphones that not only give us information and pricing about that product in that store, but also the price for that same product in competitive local retailers and for on-line retailers as well. The power to find the best price sits in the palm of your hand. Retailers are certainly responding to this “threat” in different ways.
Last holiday season for example, Amazon offered shoppers $5 to scan items in retail stores and to send that information back to Amazon so that they could understand the local competitive market pricing and make sure they had the best price. Amazon’s Price Check app, which is available for iPhone and Android, allows shoppers to scan a bar code, take a picture of an item or conduct a text search to find the lowest prices. Amazon is also asking consumers to submit the prices of items with the app, so Amazon knows if it is still offering the best prices. Now that is proactive “crowdsourcing” at its best.
Some retailers, like Target, are encouraging that behavior, giving shoppers gift cards and other rewards for checking in and scanning merchandise. Others, like Best Buy, are doing their best prevent it, even going so far as to strip the standard bar codes on products to discourage shoppers from running price comparisons with other retailers.
Empathica, recently issued a survey among 6,500 U.S. Internet users — a little more than half (52%) of whom identified as smartphone owners — to take a closer look at how they’re using mobile in stores. Impressively, 55% of smartphone owners said they’ve used a mobile device to compare prices between retailers. Thirty-four percent said they’ve scanned a QR code, and 27% have read online reviews from their devices before making purchase decisions. Empathica provides Customer Experience Management programs to more than 200 of the world’s leading brands.
According to Empathica’s survey, here is how consumers are using their smartphones in store:
What your customer and prospect can now do while in your store is revolutionary. You want to win? Make sure you give your shoppers with what they need to engage. It is no longer just about the product, but about the entire experience and how the shopper expresses themselves about you.
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