WASHINGTON, November 21, 2012 — Black Friday is changing as Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and other retailers have moved up their times to Thursday or midnight instead of early Friday morning. Brick-and-mortar retailers are adapting to consumers who are now presented with the, perhaps more appealing, option of Cyber Monday and other online deals.
None of us look back longingly on ‘urban camping’ all night with a bunch of strangers for a flat screen.
Mobile applications present the next opportunity for retailers to increase brick-and-mortar traffic and get in the black. Early this year, smartphone penetration reached more than half of all mobile phones. Up from 29% just two years ago (Nielsen).
Mobile developers and retailers are recognizing this trend and ways to encourage foot traffic. Mobile apps allow for the integration of social sharing, which when the right incentive is applied, turns an engaged audience of brand advocates in to a real-time sales team. Apps are also where consumers gather information to make important purchasing decisions. Apps can get people in the door, they can close the sale and they can generate brand awareness.
“In-store sales at major retailers this week will be significantly influenced by mobile applications on consumer’s smartphones” feels Kenneth Wisnefski, online marketing expert and founder / CEO of WebiMax. The heavy usage of price-comparison, online reviews and near real-time pricing and inventory information will play a major role this Black Friday and throughout the holiday shopping season.
Today’s consumer is constantly shopping for the best deal and lowest price while at the same time ensuring the product they are buying has positive reviews online. Some of the best mobile apps for this holiday shopping season include:
Amazon’s Price Checker: Amazon developed this app for both iOS and Android based devices. Consumers scan a product’s barcode and instantly view alternate prices for that product from the Amazon store and other online retailers. Additionally, consumers can share the product on social media, thereby stimulating demand and engagement for it through their social network.
TGI Black Friday: Consumers search thousands of deals across different states and categories. This information is updated in near real-time which help consumers coordinate their actions to take advantage of the next major deal. With limited inventories on popular items, black Friday shopping is largely about having the right information at the right time.
Shopkick: Consumers can unlock local deals and “kicks” by opening the app when in selected major retailers including Macy’s, Best Buy, Target and more. These kicks include larger discounts, gift cards and other promotional incentives.
Ozmott: A new, patent pending mobile shopping platform that allows users to shop and earn rewards for interacting with offers. By sharing or claiming an offer, users earn redeemable credits called “pips” to unlock exclusive top tier luxe offers.
Kristin Fehrman, Director of Marketing for Ozmott explained the trend further, “Mobile shopping applications are a unique tool that drive shoppers into the store- on their terms. Mobile apps empower the consumer and provide a real-time marketing channel for shoppers looking for the best local offers. Mobile applications also give shoppers the ability to share with their friends, which is powerful for both the merchant and the consumer. We hope to see the end of junk e-mail due to the transition from spam to mobile applications, catering the offers to each individual user.”
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