How to use technology to your advantage when shopping for someone special

Categories:Something Special
Gemma Greaves

Whether shopping online or in-store, the way in which we all buy products is rapidly changing.

For example, people are gradually swapping their wallets for contactless payments conducted via chip-based credit cards, smartphones and even wearable technology. Queues are also being rapidly diminished thanks to kiosks that enable shoppers to pay for stuff quickly without having to visit a check out.

As a consumer, there are a number of ways you can use technology to your advantage, and it certainly pays to do so if you’re shopping for someone special.
online shopping

The reason is simple: technology will help you shop smarter and quicker – two things you’ll need to do in order to find that perfect present.

Here’s 5 technological advancements you can use today to assist with your shopping:

1. Fast payments

We noted above that contactless payments are revolutionising shopping, but they come in many forms.

If you’re in-store, using your tap-and-pay payment card is a great way to pay for stuff fast, but you can conduct similar tricks online.

Services like Apple Pay are fast being integrated into online stores, enabling customers to checkout with a dab of their fingerprint or single tap of a button. It’s secure, too, so if you’re still entering your credit card details manually every time you buy something, give one of the new, faster methods a spin instead.

2. Beacons

Beacons are small devices placed within stores that use bluetooth technology to communicate with shoppers’ phones. They used to be employed primarily to issue notes of special offers when people entered the store, but they’ve thankfully advanced a little since then.

If you install a retailer’s app on your smartphone, there’s a chance they might have installed beacon technology. If they have, you’ll probably be able to use it to locate items more quickly and view product recommendations based on the type of present you’re looking for. Very handy!

3. Virtual reality

We’re not quite there yet, but virtual reality’s recent resurgence is likely to head the way of retail in the not too distant future.

VR technology

The potential applications are quite exciting, with the most valuable likely to be the ability to conduct a virtual shopping trip from the comfort of your sofa. Rather than simply browsing an online store, imagine popping a headset on and wandering down virtual isles. You’ll be able to ‘pick up’ products and turn them over in your hand – something you simply can’t currently do with online shopping.

4. Delivery update apps

If you order something online, the retailer should keep you up-to-speed with the impending delivery, but you can go one step further to keep an eye on when your purchase is likely to arrive.

Most delivery companies will offer some form of parcel tracking, but a more convenient way to do this is to install a delivery update app on your smartphone. Apps like Parcel enable you to precisely track deliveries from a number of couriers and send you regular notifications to ensure you’re always informed.

5. Social media mentions

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are just some of the social media platforms shoppers can turn to for advice on where to buy goods and the experiences of those who have already sampled certain retailers.

If you have a purchase and store in mind but are unsure about its reputation, head to your favourite social media platform and search for mentions of their brand. You’ll quickly find discussions relating to them and get a feel for how impressive (or not) their customer service is.

Are you excited about the future of shopping? We are!

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