Is online shopping destroying the high street or revolutionising consumer control? We bring you the latest and greatest apps that promise to socialise retail…
Nowadays, price is a very baggy concept. With showrooming – browsing in-store, buying online – becoming common practice, group shopping encouraging us to club together to drive prices down, and eBay bringing haggling back to the masses, the idea of simply paying a fixed, pre-determined amount for a product seems very old fashioned.
Nifti taps into this behavioural shift, promising to help us find the deals that we want at the price we are willing to pay. The site allows you to track the price of an item in on online store, similar to watching an item in eBay. The difference here is that you get to say “If product X drops to $50, I’m game to buy.” You’ll then get a notification once your desired product reaches what you consider to be a good price with that store. A browser button makes it easy to add items to your list, and a ‘Collections’ feature allows you to group your monitored items into easy-view categories.
Pros? You don’t have to keep browsing your online stores to see if the price has come down on your next toy. Cons? Currently, you can’t simply track a single product across all websites; you can only track a product on one site. For example, I can track the price of the Xbox 360 separately in Best Buy and Target, but I can’t combine the search with a single notification. In our view, Nifti needs to take this leap, and fast. If you could simply say “I want to know when the Xbox 360 can be found anywhere on the web at X price”, this will be a killer bargain hunting service. Still, the current iteration is an improvement on having to visit old-school price comparison sites day after day. Let us know what you think.
When it comes to mobile shopping, the idea is often better than the reality. Fishing out your card to enter payment details, billing addresses, expiry dates and CVV codes every time you use a new site can be a real pain. A study from Harris Interactive and Jumio reported that 66% of smartphone shoppers have abandoned a shopping cart “due to obstacles encountered during checkout.” Companies such as eBay and Amazon have one-click solutions, and Google’s Checkout button and Apple’s iCloud Keychain aim to remember financial details, but a truly integrated solution still looks like a distant dream.
Not if PayVia have their way. The LA-based company is hoping to become the PayPal of mobile retail, by introducing one simple button which will add your shopping charges onto your mobile phone bill – effectively turning your smartphone into your online credit card. This has particularly exciting implications for emerging markets where credit cards are not ubiquitous.
The biggest stumbling blocks will be familiarity and loyalty. Are we willing to put our payments in the hands of an unknown new brand? Will our earn-as-you-pay credit card points get sidelined? Do we feel comfortable buying a computer, insurance or even a car via our phone bill? It’ll be a slog to build up trust, but it’s an interesting model in a seriously hot growth area. If the PayVia team can scale awareness over the next few months, the service could become a household name.