Reporting Paula Ebben
It’s a whole new kind of window shopping. With an app and a quick scan of a price tag, bargain hunters can see on the spot if they are getting the best deal. Jeffrey Goldstein wouldn’t shop without it, “I will take a look at everything on the shopping list.” It’s called “scan and scram” or “showrooming.” And it’s changing the retail landscape.
“In the big picture, you can save a lot of money,” says Goldstein.
Simply by scanning any price tag with your smartphone shoppers can virtually price check TV’s, appliances, clothes, and even wedding rings. As many as 25% of adult cell phone owners have given this a try. And 5% of those mobile price checkers bought the item online instead of at the store. Amazon and Ebay even launched price comparison apps to make it easier for bargain hunters.
“The number of e-commerce sales that were done through this phenomenon were large enough that retailers should be paying attention,” says Klay Huddlestone a digital marketing executive. And some retails stores are heeding his advice. Target offers exclusive products you can’t buy anywhere else. Nordstrom offers free shipping. Macy’s and Old Navy offer in-store only coupons. Sears stresses immediate gratification, “you can actually get the product the same day you purchase it no waiting for something to ship to your house. No paying extra shipping charges to get it expedited,” says Don Perkins a manager at Sears.
Even if you find a better price with your phone it can still be possible to save money in the store. It’s worth asking if the retailer will match or even beat the online deal.