Now that people can buy products from their smart phones and they don't even have to go to their computers anymore, will actual brick-and-mortar businesses become a thing of the past? Will retail clerks, suppliers, advertisers, etc., suffer the same fates as employees of Blockbuster and Borders?
While opportunities for certain brick-and-mortar retail workers may be shrinking, partially because of smartphone apps, some other hands-on businesses are flourishing because of those same apps. Groupon, for example, sends business to companies that might have otherwise gone undiscovered by consumers.
Airline and hotel apps may be putting travel agents out of business, but they're doing wonders for the travel and transportation industries themselves, as they keep costs down and pass along those savings to consumers. Even brokerage apps are being well received, and most people will not worry much about the decreasing numbers of stockbrokers.
Other industries are also finding success in creating mobile apps that drive business to brick-and-mortar establishments. Citysearch, for example, just launched and app called Deals by Citysearch, which directs you to the best deals on goods, services and restaurants from CityGrid Media advertisers and third-party content providers including Groupon, The Dealmap, and others.
Consumers are also using location-based apps, such as Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places, and Twitter geolocation to guide them to brick-and-mortar storefronts. Starbucks is especially big on these, but even McDonald's, Chipotle, and Burger King are using them.
So if you're worried about smart phones and mobile apps stealing away your jobs and your business, you'll just have to learn how to use them to drive customers through your door. And who knows? If you figure out a way to do this for your boss, you just might get a raise.
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