Imagine this scenario: a shopper with a half-filled basket perusing the aisles of your store stops for a moment to inspect an item. She pauses, pulls out her smartphone, and, using one of many apps available for this purpose, scans the barcode pulling up a price comparison that spans both your nearby brick-and-mortar competitors, as well as online retailers.
Depending on what she saw, she may opt to buy out the stock, or, at the other extreme, walk out of the store, leaving her basket behind. Likely, she will simply not buy that item if the price differential is too high and her desire for immediacy too low.
While some shoppers have always compared prices, with nearly 70 million U.S. consumers armed with smartphones and a plethora apps, never has the barrier to price comparison been so low. As of July 2011, smartphone penetration hit 40% of the mobile market, while RedLaser, a popular barcode scanning app, has been downloaded an estimated 12 million times. (more…)