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One-stop shopping. The words inspire a flutter in my heart, a sigh from the soles of my hard-working, tired feet. If I could sing the praises of any one modern convenience, it would be for stores where I can pick up a pair of fashionable sneakers and Dole bagged salad along with a few California avocados, fill a prescription and swing by the bank (even better if I don’t run into a neighbor who wants to chat about my plans for Labor Day). Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to do all this…and more from the palm of my hand. Sure, home computers and high-speed Internet have made otherwise mundane errands as exciting as finding a vintage Chanel bag on eBay. But it’s Smartphone technology that’s really got a hold on me, and boy, oh boy, am I rapt. From bargain-hunting to banking to luxury shopping, new Smartphone applications are making one-stop shopping a thing of the past, if only because I can now buy on the go.
Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but it seems like brands and businesses that don’t embrace mobile technology run the risk of being left behind. At the very least, they might be over-shadowed by more forward-thinking companies. Brand loyalty is already on the decline; products want to avoid being seen as archaic — or simply not seen.
The numbers alone are astounding. Gartner research shows that Smartphone sales were up 49 percent in the first quarter of 2010. And according to a recent study by Pew Research Center in Washington, 59 percent of U.S. adults go online wirelessly, via Wi-Fi or mobile connections, using either cell phones or laptop computers. Among cell phone owners, 54 percent used their devices to share photos and videos; 23 percent accessed a social networking site; and 11 percent made a purchase. That last number is only expected to rise. Another study by ABI Research estimated that by 2015 shoppers globally will spend an estimated $119 billion on goods and services purchased with their mobile phones. U.S. numbers are a solid example, with mobile commerce (known as m-commerce) jumping from $396 million in 2008 to $1.2 billion in 2009; 2010 numbers are projected to reach $2.2 billion.
We’ve already talked about the new face of coupons and ways in which brands are engaging consumers online. Emerging mobile technology allows businesses to take things one step further. Whether it be Smartphone applications similar to those recently introduced by eBay and Fandango (thank you, Fandango, from the bottom of my line-hating heart), incorporating WiMO technology, or something as simple as launching an SMS campaign, opportunities abound. Smart marketers will take notice and take advantage. And smart shoppers — like me — will invest in a few more pairs of pajamas, since I no longer need to run to the store.