Wireless Wonders

No news, just comment about mobile phones and services, from a veteran practitioner...3G, GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc...

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Future discount buying...idea #42/100...

Following on from my previous post about the use of mobiles and NFC in the shopping process, I started to think about even better deal-making opportunities.

Having a mobile dialogue with the store allows for deal-making that was not previously possible. In any shop it is always possible to negotiate prices, but this is usually not done for lower-price items because it is unmanageable. Price-matching is possible in larger grocery stores on their larger items, like televisions and other electrical goods.

The mobile allows a dialogue to take place with the store without requiring any store staff. This is a major step forward. Here's one example that might be possible...

We all shop for certain items over and over again. I buy 6-pack baked beans every week (I have a large family). What stores are looking for is customer loyalty and an increased spend, which is becoming increasingly difficult to secure. Card schemes are one approach, but all stores have them and the perceived benefit of staying with one scheme is marginal (and almost non-existent).

I would like to be able to buy 100 6-packs at a discount. This is presumably in the shop's interest, although FMCG retail experts can give you better insights into the economics and psychology of shopping. Now, at the time of browsing the goods, I could enter into a negotiation for a bulk-buy, agreeing to pay up-front to secure the discount. I would to this on my mobile.

What I want however, is not to have to load 100 6-packs (if they have them) into my car. I want the shop to carry them for me and I pick up as many as I need whenever I'm in the store. At the checkout, the store's IT system will already know of my pre-payment on the item, so it doesn't get added to my bill.

I may have overlooked some glaring issues here. I lack the detailed understanding of the grocery economics machine, but I think the principle is basically correct. The real point that I want to highlight is that this is only possible with mobile because it provides the access point into the shopping "IT Brain" that can do the bidding, rather than relying on staff. True, staff could also access the same "IT Brain", but think of the logistical difficulties.

I look forward to buying 600 packs of beans soon...

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