Being a tech fiend and an accessory junkie, I'm constantly looking for new and interesting things to buy – things that will make my collection of devices more fun or more functional. Not long ago, only a couple days would go by between my visits to a few local electronics stores and giving the store a once-over, else my hands would get shaky and I would begin twitching uncontrollably. It wasn't that I had to buy stuff very often really. I had to scope things out, just to see what was new, what had changed and to scope for pricing.
Since the major e-commerce surge, however, I've been more prone to shopping for new things from the comfort of my couch with my tablet, late in the evening. Even if I don't buy things online, I can at least get a feel for what I should be paying for a particular item and compare prices between different retail locations before making the trek to a brick and mortar store.
Lately, however, things have changed even more. Over the past several months or so, I have gotten to the point where I won't buy anything in-store without checking online prices first.
That may not sound odd to most of you. But online shopping has never really been my thing and, generally, I'm an instant gratification kind of customer. I have long had a habit of impulse buying and making last-minute decisions on the fly. I come across something that catches my eye just right, and my wallet starts begging for some fresh air. Before I know it, I've bought a new tablet, a slew of handy cables or something else I don't need.
Earlier today, I noticed that I have started using my smartphone in a way that I never would have just a couple months ago. I was walking into Best Buy, looking to eat through a gift card that has been sitting in my wallet for a few weeks now. I needed to pick up a few adapters for my MacBook, like a USB to Ethernet adapter and a Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter. Needless to say, I found exactly what I was looking for, yet I couldn't force myself to buy them.
Knowing I had a gift card, I wasn't worried about pricing before I went in. But once I saw that both were at least $25 a piece, I automatically felt the need to pull out my Nexus and check Amazon for what I needed. Within about two minutes, I had located both adapters for under $10 each, with free shipping for Amazon Prime members.
I, of all people, have become a habitual price-checker. That's something I never imagined possible.
Of course, this doesn't mean that I'll never buy from a retail store ever again, or that I'm only going to use Amazon for all of my electronics purchases. And none of this should come off as ground-breaking or mind-blowing – the ability to check prices with a smartphone by scanning barcodes has been around for ages now, and checking Amazon prices via browser or mobile app is nothing new either.
The interesting part, though, is how this has gradually and naturally started to happen over the span of a couple months without me noticing. I've become a lot more comfortable with buying online if I have to and don't hesitate to whip out the ol' pocket computer to make sure I'm not paying way too much for some small electronics. What's more is that my Galaxy Nexus has become my default device for shopping, replacing my Galaxy Tab and even my MacBook.
Tell me, readers. Do you use your smartphone to check online prices while you shop? Did you make the switch abruptly? Or did your transition to a habitual price-checker gradually happen over time?