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Mobile phones: A helping hand for impulsive buyers?

First came the coupons, then payments and now there is an app which tracks if the users are spending more than their budget. Seems our whole life is shifting into the mobile screen.

It doesn’t matter which income bracket one belongs to, we usually tend to spend more than our income. Many users often find it difficult to control their impulse purchases.

However, our cellphones, which we tend to associate with expenses, can be good helping hand for controlling our expenditures.
For example, Spenz, an application that help the users stick to a budget. The application also rewards those who spend within their limits.

The expenses can be entered in the phones through the app even while they are on the move. It also tracks the necessary expenses such as car instalments and rent as well as impulse purchases such as coffee, movie and other such expenses.

Mobile coupons are another good method for the users to save money. According to a research report from Exposure2, users tend to redeem about half of the coupons issued through cellphones. Whereas, paper coupons have a poor redemption rate at just 2 per cent or even less.

The mobile coupons are delivered directly to the phones of the users, but then these coupons also encourage impulse purchases, hence suitable only for those who have higher disposable income.

It does, however, help users connect better with their friends and relatives because they can forward these mobile coupons to them. Procter and Gamble has used mobile coupons to great effect in India during the promotion of Olay Total Effects. The Olay mobile coupons drove users into the stores to collect their free sample of new product by Olay. The campaign ran for three months and 27 per cent of the users who got the coupons responded positively by visiting the stores.

Even the purchase behaviour of travel products has undergone a change. The change began with the popularity of Internet and mobile broadband has only added to it. Earlier, whenever the users intended to visit a city, they had to buy guide books, go to the travel agent or even visit the library. For the users, it was just like traveling blind. Now the users can check the city photos or the images of the hotels even when they are on the move. Now they can make sure they get the best rates by comparing rates of different hotels.
There are several airlines which offer mobile boarding passes to their customers who just have to flash them before the airport staff to board their flights.

In an earlier survey conducted by Compete, it was found that users were spending more money right from their smartphones, but many felt bad about the bad mobile website experience. But with time, mobile commerce websites have become better optimised for viewing on mobile devices and users are getting more comfortable with the idea of buying from their smartphones or at least doing research about their future purchases, as mentioned in an earlier The Mobile Indian article.
Even Apple is studying the buying behaviour of its iTunes customers because it already knows the items downloaded by its users, what they have deleted and how much time they spend interacting with the downloaded apps.

The overall trend? Seems the whole purchase experience is shifting into the mobile screen.

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