The mobilescape is spinning the e-commerce world and changing how businesses target and reach consumers. Mobile shopping apps are helping businesses reach consumers on the go in unconventional ways. Two popular daily deal companies — Groupon and LivingSocial — are developing apps that will provide “on the spot deals.” Rather than the traditional daily deal that runs for approximately 24-48 hours, the new idea is for the business to decide which day(s) their deal will run, at what time and for how long. For example, let’s say I own Brandon’s Pizza and I know business is rockin’ on Fridays and Saturdays, but Tuesdays are pretty slow. I decide to offer a deal using the new deal app, giving me the power to offer my deal on Tuesdays between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., to be used the day of purchase. LivingSocial’s new app, Instant Deals, is currently being tested in Washington, D.C. Watch for Groupon’s version, Groupon Now, to roll out this month.
Not only are businesses using mobile technology to reach consumers, but the consumers have much more control on where and when to buy than ever before. Consumers, me included, can use non-specific retail apps like Google Shopper to look for the best price by scanning the bar code or product image. Don’t get me wrong! E-commerce and online shopping have been phenomenons for years, but today I could be discussing an item with a friend over lunch, and when we don’t know where it is sold, we immediately use an app or the mobile Internet to find the item, research a price and purchase — all within minutes, all within the palm of my hand.
Will deal apps be the future of local e-commence? Maybe, but I don’t believe this is the end of retail as we know it. However, the opportunities for retailers to change their e-commerce landscape and buy into the digital and mobile age is definitely upon us.