I love technology, and you have to give the geeks credit: if there’s an inefficiency in the world, it won’t be long before one of them figures out a low-cost way to eliminate it with a web service or, most recently, a smart-phone app.
Take local retailing, for instance. Used to be that when a consumer shopped at a local retailer, he or she had to pay an outrageous premium – the mark-up that covers the retailer’s rent, insurance, healthcare costs and the high-cost domestic labor that provides assistance, know-how, and help with returns.
2009’s master-innovation elegantly frees the consumer from this burden. RedLaser, the $1.99 Apple iPhone App, uses high-tech imaging technology through the phone’s camera to read the UPC barcode that appears on most products. With a quick scan, RedLaser instantly enables the user to find that product for less (the lowest-cost provider is almost always an online store). Click a link, order the product, and (if you’re really savvy) type in an online coupon code for free shipping or an additional discount. Bingo – The same exact product with significant savings and almost no time or effort! Maybe as little as a few hours away with free shipping… Read more »