Back-to-school shopping on cellphones

Retailers like JCPenney, Sears, and Kmart hook us by suggesting we send them a text for special sales and discounts, the Washington Post reports. But while "Sears and Kmart promoted a mobile app that allows shoppers to order merchandise and have it shipped to a nearby store [and] American Eagle gave away free smartphones to anyone who tried on jeans ... many retailers are still waiting to see whether mobile shopping will pay off after the novelty wears off." [They've gotta be researching the sophistication and staying power of mobile retail in Japan, from where I just returned!] Here are some early-adopter numbers on US mobile retail from Deloitte which the Post cites: some 29% of consumers saying they'll use their phones to "power through their back-to-school shopping lists"; about 38% of them intending to check prices via their phones; and 30% looking for discounts that way. It helps that, according to Nielsen, some 25% of US cellphone users have smartphones, up from 16% last year. Last year's $1.2 billion mobile shopping market in the US last year is certainly fueling some serious experimentation too, according to the Post.

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