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Does Mobile Shopping Move People Out of the House and Into the Mall?

In a time that witnesses massive closings of retail operations in favor of the convenience of Internet shopping, it seems likely that mobile devices and increasingly comprehensive apps would further extinguish brick-and-mortar businesses. But it appears that in numerous cases, mobile shopping has boosted actual, in-person foot traffic.

By taking advantage of the same technology that allows consumers to accomplish a plethora of things from the mundane to the previously unimaginable, lots of household-name retail giants have begun dragging consumers away from their screens and back into the malls, all via sophisticated apps. While shoppers can certainly use a retailer’s app to make an online purchase through ubiquitous scannable QR codes and other means, they may benefit even more from actually visiting stores — with their mobile devices. App users may be treated to invitation-only sales, complete with directions to the nearest store, thanks to GPS-enabled smartphones, and product suggestions based on the consumer’s wish lists, bookmarked items and recent Internet searches. Customized, ready-made shopping lists of specially priced goods seem to outweigh privacy concerns, especially at this time of year for busy, budget-conscious parents needing to outfit kids for school.

Shopping-mall stalwarts like Macy’s, H&M and Victoria’s Secret, as well as supply superstores like Office Depot and little-bit-of-everything emporiums like Kmart, have made the move to mobile, giving app users plenty of incentives to not only shop with them, but to also shop in them. And why not? People who once bought mobile devices to have what they needed at all times now have even more at their fingertips.

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