Buying Shoes – Scanning the Store – Do you feel guilty? Nope!

January 4, 2012

in brand 2.0, Brand Futures, Smart Retail

ShopSavvy.jpgDo you feel a little exposed shopping and scanning the merchandise? I still do. On Monday I went shopping with my son for basketball shoes. Sports Authority was pretty well shopped over. We’d find a shoe only in the wrong color or size. Before long I had my ShopSavvy App out and was scanning potential boxes. Two questions in mind. Will this show me what I am looking for? Can I get it cheaper somewhere else, or even can I get it close by as it is out of stock here. In the end we purchased on the day from Footlocker. However, if after that store we still had the wrong color we’d have gone online. I had it scanned!

In the lead up to Christmas, retailers were complaining about people like me. Window shopping, and then ordering via Amazon. I made three purchases this way and saved over $50. That’s good enough to cement the behavior. I may be prepared to buy on the spot for convenience or instant gratification, yet in this case it really didn’t matter. It was going under the tree. Even better I got my savings after paying Amazon to wrap them too. Yes I was that lazy this year!

There’s some problems with this whole scanning process. The “scanner” feels a little obvious. Actually I’ve been asked in BestBuy. I told them. Sorry, am checking to see if this is a reasonable price point. It wasn’t and I showed the clerk the comparison. He said he couldn’t match it. And I left the store. Yet like me… many more people are becoming confident that scanning products this year is appropriate. The newspaper articles suggest it is becoming common place. Perhaps a stretch.

How does a retailer protect themselves? Best go to own label/brand. Secure unique stocks that aren’t available elsewhere. They would be smart to encourage scanning too. If I’m in BestBuy I should be downloading their App if I don’t already have it. It should have a scanner on it. It should also enable scanning in other stores – anywhere. Amazon did this over the Christmas period. Amazon PriceCheck got howls from other retailers. More importantly, for Amazon it is providing an important competitive database. Personally I prefer ShopSavvy as it provide other options in the area and online too, which may or may not better than Amazon.

Where could this take us?

  • Benefits to us scanning as we shop. (for retailer, for a potential group of buyers) To a personal shopper? To purchasing? To planning?
  • New Shopping behaviors. Substitutes, knockoffs, changes in buying cycles and deal and promotion behaviors. (Eg Scan the real thing – identified – fits – get a knock-off). Example. I shop on Black Friday. Will a scan provide promised delivery at the same or a lower price in the future? What if I scan products in WholeFoods and share with Safeway? Will Safeway do home delivery on them? How would the same help “Trader Joe’s”?
  • Time to rethink your Promo’s and Coupons. Even loyalty programs. I shop Safeway weekly. I don’t have a Safeway app. What that should look like is a story in itself. Same for Trader Joe’s. Perhaps another post.

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