For merchants who see “window shopping” as being a few steps removed from the transaction process, mobile is about to once again shake things up. Outside Norma Kmali’s botique in Manhattan, shoppers will now be able to point their smartphone cameras at merchandise in the window and buy it, any time and any day, even when the store is closed.
But that kind of technology is not available only for New Yorkers. In fact, according to an article published in the New York Times, many retailers are already testing new mobile technologies (apps) that will allow their customers to use their smartphones as an integral part of their daily shopping experiences.
Take for example ScanLife, the same app that is used at Norma Kamali’s store allows customers to scan bar codes on merchandise and obtain details about the clothes through videos or and then, with a click, purchase that item. Or another I.B.M. called Presence. Once shoppers are signed up they can be detected as soon as they set foot in a store. This enables the app to offer the shoppers a real-time coupon or product recommendations delivered instantly to their smartphone. In addition, Presence is also able to do perform predictive analitycs and suggest to shoppers products they are likely to desire based on their previous purchases.
Smartphone apps such as the two mentioned above are driving sales by strengthening the link between actual stores and the Web by offering customers a richer and more entertaining shopping experience. Technology companies behind such products say we are surely expected to see wider deployments of these types of apps by 2011. This year we are expected to see more and more barcodes around, so that We will be able not only to scan merchandise and obtain details about them, but also to add them to gift registries or even to wishlists.