E-commerce is booming. The successes of Amazon are a perfect example of just that.
And there are many reasons why people are moving to online shopping: you can shop from the comfort and convenience of your couch, you can have things delivered to your doorstep for a fraction of what it would have cost just five years ago – or maybe even less than it could cost to drive to a brick and mortar shop – and, most of the time, you don't have to worry about whether an item is in stock or not. Another key advantage are the finds. On the Internet and in digital content stores, you come across items you would never find in your local retail stores.
But let's circle back to the convenience factor.
When I just turned 16, I loved driving. I drove everywhere, and I would drive half an hour across the city to get to the only Best Buy around … just to browse. I would never do that now. Sure, I had a computer back then, and I could have looked online and probably ordered whatever it was I was looking for. The problem then was that I was impatient. I wanted an item right then and there, which was probably on launch day.
Today, I'm still pretty impatient. But I never buy anything without checking Amazon or other online retailers first. Shipping is quick and inexpensive (I pay $80 per year for Amazon Prime, which bundles free two-day shipping on most items with Amazons's Unlimited Instant Videos), and the prices are sometimes drastically lower than in-store for a multitude of reasons. But, more importantly, most items that are pre-ordered online these days arrive on your doorstep on launch day. Better yet, with the move to digital content versus analog disks and drives, some purchases are instantly available.
All of this is great. And nothing could appease my desire to drive as little as possible more. But I'm not always at home, and I'm not always within reach of my computer. I am, however, never more than a few feet from my smartphones. And I often turn to those pocket-sized machines to do the brunt of my shopping. In fact, sometimes I even shop from my smartphone while I'm in front of my computer working.
Last year, I mainly used my smartphone to check prices while in-store. If I was checking out electronics in a local store, I would have my smartphone out checking online prices for virtually everything I came across. I'm to the point now, though, where I don't even bother going out to shop much anymore. The only time I hop in the car is to check out something in-store to help decide if I want to buy it or not.
I now do a ton of shopping from my smartphones. And it's not just tons of tiny little knick-knacks, though I do my fair share of Kickstarter browsing via mobile.
Lately, I have bought spare charging cables, replacement parts for an RC helicopter, studio monitor headphones, cell phone cases and even backed a Kickstarter project from my phones. But I've also started using my phones to grow my digital content libraries.
Last month, Aaron gave me a Nexus Q to play around with. The initial impression was the exact same that rang out across the Web shortly after the developer units were seeded at Google I/O in late June: it's a neat device that's severely hindered by a lack of functionality and overpriced due to being "manufactured in the USA." A week or so after having the device, it started collecting some dust. But every time I sit down in my living room, the orb situated at the lower left corner of my television glares at me and begs to be used.
There's something about using your phone to control the video content on your television that gives off a warm feeling inside. Maybe it's the nerd factor, or maybe I like not having to power on the 360 or PS3 controller every 10 minutes to adjust something or pause. Either way, I have found myself buying more and more content from Google Play – renting and buying movies, purchasing albums and, from time to time, individual songs.
Among the long list of uses I have discovered for my phone, one thing I never expected it to be is an ultimate shopping tool. Alas, that's one thing it most certainly is for me. I can and do buy anything and everything I need from wherever I am. And I plan to buy the majority of my holiday gifts using my pocket tablet.
Tell me, folks. Do you do your shopping from your smartphone? If so, what sort of things do you use your smartphone to buy? Only digital content? Items to be delivered? Or do you shop form your computer, tablet or even in-store instead?