The continually changing face of retail
With daily deals delivered via Twitter feeds and mobile-friendly sale sites, retailing is expanding in directions it would have been difficult to predict even five years ago, says consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch.
While consumers have always looked out for special offers and discounts, new technologies and services mean that 2011 will see even more new ways to help rid yourself of those pesky dollars.
Among several trends that are quickly changing the way consumers shop, Woroch offers a few highlights ....
1. Daily Deals
With the explosion of limited-time daily deals via group-buying and flash-sale sites like Gilt Group and Jetsetter.com, other retailers will soon be piling in. Target and Overstock, for instance, already offer Deal-of-the-Day sales with more to come, Woroch predicts.
Gap has recently taken the daily-deal concept a step further with the launch of its new Gap My Price program, which allows customers to bid for clothing and accessories much as they would on travel through Priceline. You make an offer for a particular item which Gap either accept or rejects.
3. Free Shipping
Retailers in Australia are talking about charging shoppers for use of their changing rooms. The move is designed to prevent you from trying items in-store, then buying them online at a discount price.
That's why savvy retailers like Zappos and Piperlime have shifted online marketing efforts, creating a more accessible e-shopping experience and offering free shipping both ways, as well as site-to-store free shipping.
4. Mall Body Scanners
We're not talking about security scanners here, but rather a DIY system that helps you deal with manufacturer's increasingly different sizing charts. MyBestFit addresses this problem with mall kiosks offering free 20-second, full-body scans.
Here's how it works: You step fully dressed into a small booth and a wand rotates around you, emitting low-power radio waves that record roughly 200,000 body measurements to assess areas like bicep circumference. The system then matches these measurements to sizes in its database for roughly 50 stores, including Old Navy and Eddie Bauer.
What do you think? Does new technology drive your shopping habits? Or are you still driving to the mall on Saturday morning?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
* Follow Gordon on Twitter here.
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