The recession of 2009 has affected the economy in more ways than one, and retailers are definitely feeling the pinch. The advent of the internet brought people closer together and created a highly competitive market for product sales. Companies like Amazon, PriceGrabber, Shopbot and many others have pressed big box stores, as well as Mom and Pop outfits, to drop their prices to compete.
Smartphone toting customers have been seen scanning barcodes with their cellphone cameras, which allow them to load the pictures onto comparison websites while standing in the aisles of a store. Others are using GPS to find discounts in their areas, and offering coupons to the cashiers via the screen on thier phone.
Many retailers have begun to fight back, placing their own deals online at a rising cost to them. Macy's and The Gap are two such retailers who have increased their advertising and marketing budgets to accomodate the cost of placing deals online.
Approximately 18% of cellphones are smart phones, with the popularity expected to rise considerably by 2011. Waiting patiently for this increase are hundreds of applications geared toward finding discounts and coupons. The clincher is that many of these apps are free, and available for many platforms, such as iPhones, BlackBerrys, and Androids.