Will new technologies affect the way we shop this holiday season?

Will new technologies affect the way we shop this holiday season?

With the ease and security of online shopping, you’d think everyone would be shopping at home this holiday season. Of course, that’s far from the truth. Thousands of bargain hunters will be lined up anticipating the retail stores to open. And these savvy shoppers will have new bargain-hunting weapons at their disposal: cellular devices. Everyone with a smartphone or tablet will have with them specifically designed apps to help them navigate everything from where an item is in a store, to seeing if it is the best price, to being able to buy it online—in the store. Here are just a few of the ways technology is influencing our habits this holiday season.

Mobile Apps

Perhaps the newest trend is the availability of apps on smartphones and tablets that are especially designed to make your holiday shopping smoother. One lets you scan a barcode to see if it’s the best bargain while another enables you to take a picture of the product and it gives you comparison prices. One app even lets you beat other customers to the punch by locating the aisle holding that sought after gift.

Smartphone Marketing

Another interesting trend this season is in the strategies taken by marketers to catch us even when we’re not tied to our computers. Smartphone marketing may be the next big step in reaching consumers, and this holiday season will basically be the beta test. Many marketing agencies have set out to contact shoppers while they’re waiting in long lines, and offering big deals and discounts in “mobile-only” purchases.

Economical Technology Trends

Not only will we be using technology to make our shopping lives simpler, but we will also be looking for the next big development. The trend in technology is seen in the battle of the tablets—at half the cost, the Kindle Fire is posing a threat to iPad’s dominance, and a new iPhone competitor appears to be entering the market every day. Rightly so: the consumer is cautious about the economy, will most likely spend less this year, and will be looking for both bargains and value.

For those of us intent on visiting the brick-and-mortars this season, technology can be a great help, from finding great prices to gift ideas. Apps can help us while we’re in the store, and our mobile phones may ring signaling that we’re paying too much! But the trends that make our shopping easier may take a backseat to those that signal the sign of these times: only the technologies that offer the very best value will be the hot commodities as the economy continues to stumble along.