How the Mobile Channel May Hurt Your Business

TIM PARRY: M-commerce may not just be a convenience for your customers, but a hindrance to your business. The emergence of barcode readers on smart phones, plus the price-conscious consumer, equals more people possibly buying from while standing on your sales floor.

To be fair, consumers have been looking up product info on their phones instead of looking for a sales clerk for a while. But now you can download an app like Target’s or Radio Shack’s, which are designed to give you more in-store info, and scan a barcode in Walmart or Best Buy to instantly look for a better deal.

And with Amazon, heck, with all the items the online giant has in its inventory, you could walk around Walmart all day and use your phone to fill your Amazon shopping cart.

There’s not much a merchant can do about it, since most consumers today are on a budget. David Wolfe, creative director at retail consultancy The Doneger Group, said at the Retail Marketing Society’s 2010 Retail Forecast Conference in New York that price is the new fashion trend. And that’s not likely to go out of style anytime soon.

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