Blame Your Next Unplanned Purchase on Your Cellphone

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New apps will send coupons and other promotions to the cellphones of potential shoppers who are near stores to try to lure them inside and entice them into buying something.

The WSJ discusses this new breed of apps, most prominently one called Shopkick:

Shopkick exploits the phones’ location-sensing abilities—and cameras that customers can use to scan bar codes on items—to offer product information, coupons or other marketing offers when shoppers are in a convenient position to buy.

One of the retailers Shopkick is working with is Macy’s, and here’s some input from a store spokeswoman:

The app, she says, will help the department store find new ways to communicate with consumers while they are inside Macys and when they are nearby and might be lured into the store with just the right offer.

You have to download such an app for it to send you messages, so you only have yourself to thank (or blame) if you wind up buying something as a result of a hot tip from Shopkick.