A new study from the Grizzard Performance Group found that US Shoppers don’t have time to “shop around”, with 62% not bothering to compare prices at even two stores. However, they’re very open to saving money, right up to the time of purchase. It’s just that they don’t have the time.
This ties in with my previous post about real time inventory and e-shopping, currently being tested by a a few online services at malls and major chain stores. When we can quickly and conveniently check prices at a number of stores in our area through our handheld devices, trust me, shopping will change forever. And then, a whole new dimension of direct response marketing comes into play. Last minute pushes of discounts at the point of purchase, delivered through your mobile device. As the study by Grizzard indicates, consumers are very open to saving money on a comparable product, even if it wasn’t previously in your consideration set. So consider this. The shopping engine knows what you’re looking for, knows where you are, and knows what comparable products are in stock in the same store. The advertiser can purchase the right to push a message to you right at the point of purchase, offering you 15% off their product, or even offering an automated “match and beat” deal, where it automatically matches the price of whatever you’re buying, and takes a further 10% off. A store around the corner could do the same thing, making it worth your while to check out at least one more store. All these things could easily be handled by algorithms and pre-set pricing thresholds.
And what if we take the Priceline approach? You’re ready to buy, but before you do, you send an offer to stores in your area with what you’re willing to pay for a particular product. The store in question can then decide whether to accept your offer or not. It would be true consumer control. And the really ironic thing? It’s a whole bunch of sophisticated technology, but it brings us right back to old fashioned haggling over the price. Isn’t it fascinating that the more sophisticated the technology, the closer we get to how we used to shop a century ago?