How our smartphones are changing the way we shop

Instant gratification has never been easier to achieve than through the use of our mobile phones. Snapping a photo of merchandise and texting it to a friend or family member for a second opinion – perhaps swaying your purchasing decision – has evolved into a commonplace shopping habit.

Amberley Tapp, a previous personal shopper at Louis Vuitton and current shopping enthusiast who works in oil and gas – Chanel at Holt Renfrew is her favourite shop –says sharing images of store product creates a more personal approach to shopping

“If you have a lot of clients and you get to know them all, when an item comes in that is his or her style you can take a picture to send to them,” Tapp says, adding that there is a level of instant gratification to seeing an image of a new product.

 Additionally, Tapp says that she feels consumers using their phones to take images of products they are interested in results in better sales.  

Rebecca Fishman, a sales associate at Westhills Shopping Centre’s Plum – a Canadian retailer for women’s clothing and accessories– agrees with Tapp.

“It definitely helps sales,” says Fishman. “Customers will send a picture to their friend or mom for a second opinion. If they didn’t have that ability they may be unsure and not buy it.”

Snapped at Plenty by Maeghan Archibald because she wanted a birthday-dress for while she was in Los Angeles. Sent the image to her friend who she was going on the trip with and bought the dress.

Photo courtesy of Maeghan Archibald

However, Kathy Shearer, a part-time sales associate at the Bombay & Co, Inc. and full time mother says while she see’s many of her customers using their phones to shop, she is not a phone shopper.

“I’m not the kind of shopper that takes pictures for ideas. I usually have an image in my mind. Also, budget is a big driving force for me when I shop,” says Shearer, who adds that her girlfriends use Pinterest quite often as shopping inspiration.

“I think that this trend will continue,” says Fishman. “I think more and more people of different ages are using smart phones so it will become more common. You see people who are older who have smart phones when they didn’t two years ago and they are using them to make shopping decisions. So it’s not just people our age.”

Shearer adds that she feels people are less likely to impulse shop when they “choose to take a snap of items and have time to contemplate the purchase.” 

scomber@cjournal.ca