Smartphones have become an integral part of life in recent years. With millions of applications at hand, people are no longer eager to shop the old way. The smartphone revolution thus calls for a change in the thinking of companies who want to expand their business. QR shopping, in particular, can result in a dynamic shift in sales and profits, if done properly.
We all know what traditional shopping is about. You visit a supermarket or grocery store and buy the required items. Online shopping has also become so common in recent years that it can also be included in the traditional shopping category.
Social shopping thus emerges as the new and exciting alternative. Thanks to the smartphone revolution, innovative applications and payment modules have made things easier for shoppers.
What is Social Shopping?
In simplest terms, social shopping can be defined as the buying of items from an online or actual store by using social media applications. It is a combination of QR codes, social networks and social media applications. Once in a virtual or real store, shoppers can interact with their friends and family members. They can ask about the experience of using a particular product. They can also use applications that aggregate customer reviews for that particular item.
Many retailers now offer their own applications for smartphones, iPads and other gadgets. In most cases, these applications help in
- Finding discounts
- Searching the aisle location of products
- Reading product details
- Comparing prices
- Reading reviews and ratings
Every company has a different approach with some enabling users to compare prices with their competitors. The companies listed below are making good use of the phenomenon.
Sears in the US has launched a social media application that enables users to access its catalog and compare prices with other retailers. The company now offers free Wi-Fi access at select stores to enable shoppers in browsing the Internet and find the best deals. Additionally, Sears has started providing iPads and other mobile devices to its employees to improve customer service.
House of Fraser
House of Fraser is another retail brand that is using the concept to enhance sales. The company has opened a store in Aberdeen that caters exclusively to users relying on social media and smartphones.
The outlet does not display its inventory on racks and aisles but instead provides free Wi-Fi access to customers. They can sip coffee and browse the online product line of the company. If they like an item, they can order it online. House of Fraser offers them the option to either collect the order from the store next day or receive it at their doorstep.
The membership retailer, which works as part of the Walmart Group, offers an elaborate smartphone shopping experience. During the recent holiday season, it has created a mobile micro-site that enables users to create customised shopping and gifting lists. They can also view the aisle maps and store layouts, avail daily deals and discounts, and sign up for special promotions.
Toys R Us
The toy retailer is firing up its smartphone engines for this holiday shopping season. Along with its in-house applications, the company offered discounts to shoppers checking in with Foursquare on Black Friday weekend. Discounts were also available to Shopkick users during the holidays.
The promotions were in addition to the on-going social media and mobile payment solutions offered by the company. It is already in partnership with Google Wallet to simplify payments. Toy R Us also allows eBay users to check product availability using Milo and RedLaser apps and the mobile payment option removes the need of carrying cash or credit cards.
So what does all this mean?
The results are encouraging as well. According to the research by Capgemini and IMRG, online sales from 2010 to 2011 are up 15%. Similarly, there is a 300% increase in number of people using mobile devices to access a store’s website.
The ultimate beneficiary will be the customers who can shop anything and everything they want at significant discounts and without waiting in long lines or complaining about late delivery of online orders. All they need is a smartphone and an Internet connection.