As the world changes, so does the way the world shops. In 2010, a number of tech-related buying trends were introduced. As we look ahead to a new year, we should see the following buying movements pick up more steam. (For related reading, also take a look at Coupon Shopping: Clip Your Way To Savings.)
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Mobile Coupons and Online Discount Codes
While some rural areas struggle just to get the hang of internet-generated coupons, the more savvy shopping meccas are already on to bigger and better things. Coupons that arrive in your mobile inbox are hot right now, giving shoppers a less cluttered way to ask for a discount. Sites like Coupon Sherpa not only share big discounts for travel, jewelry, books and more - they also have their own iPhone app. Just flash your iPhone display to the cashier to redeem dozens of member-only perks or one of hundreds of savings offers that are available to the public.
If you're shopping online, keep an eye out for discount codes that can be entered for instant savings, free shipping or add-on gifts. Sites like CouponMountain collect these codes for you, and can save you a lot of money.
Did you know that you can text to save? Many companies reward customers with coupons and even gift cards when they text to a special number. Text messaging charges may apply, however, so be familiar with the details of each promotion (and your data plan) before you participate.
The influence of crowds is one of the hottest new developments in deal-finding, with Groupon leading the way in this daily offer category. By focusing on just one spectacular savings special per city each day, buyers can net a total savings of 50% or more on a variety of services, gifts, or merchandise. In 2010, a number of sites followed Groupon's lead, creating dozens of destinations for the high-pressure, one-day-only events. Since the playing field is only expected to get more competitive, aggregates like 8coupons.com have become invaluable in narrowing down the possibilities to only what you can afford.
Do you feel like you're stuck with a group buying deal that you no longer want or can't use? Both CoupReCoup and DealsGoRound let users get cash for their unwanted daily deal certificates. They are also great places to check if you missed out on a fabulous past deal!
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Just as we struggle to keep our inboxes clear of clutter, there are now shopping sites that require subscriptions to have access to the best deals. For those consumers who are determined to never miss a deal, the email subscriptions can add up to big savings.
Super shoppers are encouraged to set up a separate email account for newsletters and deal alerts - especially if they are checking deals from work - to keep their emails from loved ones from being lost in a sea of "Christmas in July" sale offers.
Bar Code Scanning Software
Price comparison sites are popular, but they can be difficult to access on the go. Since most buyers find themselves curious about a good deal while standing in the store aisle, the development of smart phone apps such as ShopSavvy give you up-to-date pricing in an instant. Just use the camera feature on your phone to scan the UPC code on most any product. Prices for the same product at stores near you or online will be displayed, giving you the chance to see if you are really getting a good deal.
The scanning and saving doesn't have to end when you get home. Applications like CoupSmart award prizes and freebies to users who use the same type of bar code scanning technology with their online platform.
The Bottom Line
There are already many predictions about the buying habits of shoppers in 2011. Without a doubt, many shopping trends will involve technology, but as always, the most popular ways to save will be the offers that provide the best bang for your bucks. (For additional reading, also see 4 Coupon Sites Worth Checking Out.)