There’s a giant retailing show happening this week, and both Intel and IBM released some retail-related technology news. IBM is detailing a survey on a new class of price-and-experience sensitive shoppers it dubs Shifters, while Intel is focused on a new point of sale product that offers hybrid online/offline perks such as customer reviews and a screen that shows available inventory at the store.
Given these two news items, It seems like the Internet is changing our real-world shopping patterns and expectations by giving us access to more pricing information — moving us closer to some idealized state of frictionless consumption. Given that some things, such as groceries, are still hard to buy online, I started thinking of some companies that help bring the benefits of online shopping — such as comparing prices — offline. Below are a few. Feel free to share others in the comments.
Cellfire: The well-funded service brings coupons and mobile phones to your cell phone, addressing the price sensitivity as well as the convenience of not having to lug around actual paper coupons, which I always forget to pull out of my pocket.
MyGroceryDeals.com: For the less technically savvy ( I can’t see my mom totally embracing mobile coupons) there’s this site, which uses your demographic information and where you shop to send out a weekly email newsletter of deals at local stores. It’s a simple service that allows a consumer to compare prices from the weekly grocery ads, which usually are delivered via newspaper. And no one gets newspapers anymore.
KeepCash: This site mostly offers online coupons, but it also has an iPhone application that lets you check to see if a product in a bricks-and-mortar store is cheaper online. Other retailers such as Amazon, have similar services that compare online and offline prices at individual retailers.
Grocio: This site seems awesome, but it hasn’t launched in my area yet. You tell it what you plan to buy at the grocery store and it shows you the best store in your area from which to buy those items based on cost.