Some have an innate gift for shopping. The clothing size for each family member is memorised alongside favourite colours and specific taboos for each. Jenny hates sleeveless, John only accepts brand names, Jess will wear it all. Yes there are some incredible power shoppers out there; you may know one or be one yourself. But then there’s the rest of the world. And those mere mortals wonder how they ever got by before mobile phones. How did it work, was it with paper list in hand? Or did it take coordinating a group outing and keeping loved ones distracted whilst your sister gave not-so-subtle looks toward a cashmere sweater? Do you even remember? If not you’ve probably blocked the memories. Yet these days shopping is made easy thanks to that magnificent invention, the smartphone.
Why mobile phones are one of the best shopping companions, ever.
Texting. Nieces and nephews are not the same size they were just yesterday. Not to mention tastes can be fickle. Texting is a handy (and quiet) way to get information quickly without disturbing fellow shoppers. This form of communication often helps keep conversations short and to the point. Just remember if children are involved to be careful not to let them see any messages that could give surprises away.
Photographs. A picture’s worth… well you know—particularly when trying to verbally describe a coat that might be sage or could be chartreuse. Anyone who is colour-challenged or shopping for someone who is very particular should greatly value the ability to send a photo to the lifeline of their choosing. Photos are also very handy when choosing an item to add to an existing collection of similar things. Though if you enjoy the awkwardness of giving a duplicate gift, then feel free to leave the mobile at home.
Price Comparisons. If your mobile doesn’t have a barcode scanner install one now. This feature is absolutely brilliant for comparing prices, seeking out the item’s nearest location, and even seeing if those antique candlesticks are worth the exalted price. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for locally you can keep shopping online whilst fortifying yourself at the pub.
Discount Apps. Many shoppers are hopping on this trend by offering discounts and coupons through their own sites as well as through group discount programmes. Have a particular interest? Don’t forget to search app subjects like “shoes” and “clothing accessories” in order to find software specifically geared to you. And note with discounts that many are time-sensitive and some have specific hoops to jump through, but terrific deals can be found.
Store lookups. In addition to the costs of getting from here to there, time also equals money. And few things are more frustrating than spending excessive amounts of time on a fruitless search. Mobile access not only makes sure you’ll get to the store before closing, your GPS can help offer even closer alternatives at hand.
Mobile Banking. Might not have thought of this one but what if your shopping expedition is so successful that you run out of cash or find your bank account is tapped out? Thanks to modern technology, transferring funds can be done easily, quickly, and securely. Online banking is also handy when going in on gifts as a group. Remember though to never share banking information unless it’s someone implicitly trusted.
Some consumers are more than happy to shop ’til they drop. Yet many also want to make the most of limited time and funds by becoming savvier shoppers. With today’s communication and Web-browsing capabilities it’s a wonder how any shoppers hit the sales successfully before mobiles and actually enjoyed it. Now the up-and-comers need not wonder how challenging the “old days” were—most sought information, no matter how detailed, can be found with just a few clicks.