A shopping trip over the weekend reminded me yet again of the small and sometimes unseen influences around mobile commerce.
Facing a lengthy, multi-city trip, I wanted some new clothes for the road so my wife and I headed out. Upon entering the store, we were informed that there was a mega-sale going on, with everything marked to half price.
An instant GroupMe text message passed along the news to my entire family.
Trying on clothes in the dressing room, we shared photos over MMS and got instant feedback (the good and the bad) via SMS from family members.
Various pieces of feedback helped influence the final purchase decisions. No salespeople were involved in any of the process.
The previous day, while shopping with my two sons, they asked me to take some photos of them wearing clothes they were trying on in the store of a large retailer.
One of my sons wanted the photos to share, so lacking store Wi-Fi, he loaded his PdaNet app, which allowed my iPhone to connect through his free Android Wi-Fi hot spot to quickly transmit the pix. (The next photos were shot on my Galaxy Nexus, so the photos were available via the cloud.)
My son immediately posted the photos on Facebook and almost instantly received comments from friends from as far away as Poland.
The point is that all of these types of interactions occur outside of the traditional sales process and are facilitated by always-on access to the network via mobile devices.
Mobile dramatically magnifies the social aspects of commerce, giving shoppers access to their family and friends throughout the shopping process, including after the sale.
Whether retailers know it or not, the mobile conversations around commerce are going on.
How do you use mobile when you shop, if at all?
Chuck Martin is Editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute. Chuck Martin is a frequent Mobile Keynote Speaker and Mobile Marketing Speaker internationally