OKLAHOMA CITY -- Retailers are targeting plugged-in shoppers through their smart phones.
Stores are setting up Wi-Fi access so consumers can access the Internet while they shop, allowing them to read product reviews, compare prices and more.
Some are even using freebies to help the new technology catch on. For example, The Gap last week gave away 10,000 pairs of jeans to shoppers who "checked in" using Facebook Places, a feature that lets their friends know where they are.
A mobile phone application was launched Wednesday for about 150 malls owned by General Growth Properties. Users can access exclusive store sales, mall maps, games, contests and more by signing up through the mall's e-mail club.
The free app is available for iPhone and Android phones.
"It's just another way to offer a fun and interactive type of experience," said Lynn Palmerton, who manages the Sooner Mall in Norman, Okla.
Sam's Club also launched an app this week for its shoppers. The feature can be used to locate a store, check the latest reviews on a product and get personal discounts. Shoppers can even access in-depth product information by using their phone's camera to scan a product bar code in the store.
A recent survey conducted by Sam's Club revealed 40 percent of its customers are smart phone users. Earlier this year, Sam's Club added Wi-Fi in all its U.S. locations.
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.scrippsnews.com.)