Mobile Future

Smartphones and Holiday Green

If you’re the type who camps outside Best Buy to score a post-Christmas deal on a flat screen, remember your essentials: parka, boots, hand-warmers and smartphone.  

The first three may be pretty obvious for anyone not living in Florida or San Diego.  But as Miguel Bustillo and Ann Zimmerman write in The Wall Street Journal, the smartphone “represents a revolution in retailing… and its arrival is threatening to upend the business models of the biggest store chains in America.”

A slew of new apps allow for immediate comparison shopping across the web.  Just scan the product’s barcode with your smartphone and these next-generation apps scour the web, looking for better deals and reporting back to you in seconds.  The article relates how one shopper was about to pay $184 for a Garmin GPS, only to find through his mobile app that the same model was available elsewhere for only $104.

So go ahead and shop with the security that you really did get a great deal on your new flat screen.  But that impulse buy of the eighth season of 24 on DVD?  You might save a few bucks by shopping elsewhere.