The future of mobile shopping

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At the ChannelAdvisor EU Catalyst conference one of the best sessions was the last, where Google spent half an hour demonstrating their latest technology innovations.

If you haven’t installed the Google Goggles app on your mobile then you should. Google Goggles allows you to take a photograph of almost anything from a bottle of wine to a landmark and Google will attempt to identify it for you. Once identified if the photograph is of a product you have the option of finding ways to purchase that product either online or by searching for a local shop close to where you are. Google will even lead you through to Google maps to get directions to the nearest local shop.

Whilst many people think of mobile commerce as simply using a phone instead of a computer the future of mobile commerce will be new and innovative ways to use a mobile. The use of smart phones won’t be primarily because of their computing power, but more because they’re a device which people carry at all times and bring an immediacy to the shopping experience.

Whilst Google demonstrated mobile applications available today, Clare Gilmartin of eBay shared her vision of the mobile shopping apps of the future.

eBay already have shopping apps for today’s smart phones but in the future they will be truly smart. If you admired the handbag of a girl crossing the road in front of you, you will be able to take a photo of the scene and immediately identify the products – in this example the handbag and clothing – and you will be able to make an impulse purchase via your mobile.

In truth I’ve often been sceptical of using a mobile phone for shopping, preferring a full size keyboard and screen to browse online. The truth is much of today’s online shopping experiences are poorer on a mobile device than on a computer, albeit with the advantage of immediacy. ChannelAdvisor EU Catalyst however gave me a glimpse of the future and a feature rich mobile shopping experience, with an immediacy that can only be accessed by use of ubiquitous smart phones.

We won’t simply be browsing for products on mobile phones, the smart phone will be the essential device to connect us with products whenever and wherever we see them.

7 Responses

  1. Hi Chris,

    Interesting piece (retweeted). One thing I found myself thinking mid-way through reading was how long it will be before the big price comparison sites utilise the data scoured from Goggles to send live pricing data to folks who send in their product images.

    You’re out shopping, see a product you like, you snap it on your Goggles app, it then correlates data and finds you the cheapest price.

    Bringing this back to eBay, utilising that app across eBay would be pretty powerful too, I’d imagine.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as mobile shopping is concerned. It is through further innovation of smartphones that we will see commerce dynamically evolve with even more technological ‘intelligence’.


  2. I have google goggles on my Samsung Tab, however whenever I scan a product google takes me to the Amerian market with prices in dollars and shops that are thousand of miles from me. Any one know how I can make it stick to the UK?

  3. Google are great, we’re off to an invitation only event in London hosted by Google and IMRG.

    …Without Google, our business simply wouldn’t exist.

  4. I do agree with you, Chris, about the clunkiness of using mobile phones to shop, though. I guess it’s a matter of time before it’s a more seamless experience.


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