There's a fine line between offering convenience to shoppers and manipulating them. I'm not sure where that line is drawn -- probably in different places for different people -- but we, the consumers, would have to stop shopping altogether to avoid all the subtle and not so subtle maneuvering that influences us. Because that's an unlikely proposition, all we can do is become aware of what they're coming up with to steer us in the direction they want us to go: the cash register. Here are some of the latest "convenient" ways that we're being encouraged to part with our money:
Mastercard wants to make shopping and paying on your smartphone easier with a soon-to-be-available Google Wallet app: "Utilizing gesture recognition tech, items could be selected on-screen by holding your hand over an item and navigating through the checkout process." Literally, wave your hand and you've got what you want!
WalMart plans to use social media data to figure out how to sell to you. This includes: "Using data from social-media interactions in the neighborhoods around Walmart stores to help determine how to stock them. Providing gift suggestions for your friends and family members based on what they’ve been talking about on Facebook and Twitter. [Sending] alerts from smartphone apps that flag you while you’re shopping in Walmart about products in sync with your social genome." Fortunately, those alerts will be an opt-in choice.
Macy's and Bloomingdale's are already offering shoppers free Wi-Fi and digital receipts. "The brands have also added live chats to their online shopping sites, allowing customer service representatives to provide real-time assistance to customers."
Also, "Macys.com has launched a new denim fit finder for women powered by fit personalization software. The function allows online shoppers to select a pair of jeans among all of the denim brands offered by Macys.com using a three-step process based on a customer's body type and style preferences." Now, that's convenient!