Back-to-school shopping on cellphones

By Anne Collier

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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