Mobile ShoppingIt's no secret that smartphones and tablet computers are changing the way retailers interact with shoppers as the mobile devices move from the margins into the mainstream.

"There are 140 million smart phones in the U.S.: That's 43% of all mobile phones in circulation in the U.S.," says Michael Archer, a partner at retail consultancy Kurt Salmon Associates.

And via those devices, consumers are being bombarded with a dizzying number of mobile promotions and apps designed to induce them to shop.

But while a new app seems to debut every few minutes, the digital download format won't be around long term, predicts Natt Fry, mobile and cross-channel retailing leader at consultancy firm Accenture. That's because when HTML5, the next generation of the web, becomes standard in the next few years, "mobile web sites [themselves] will be the predominant method for delivering features and functions versus mobile apps," he tells DailyFinance.

Until then, here are five "thumb shopping" features and apps that retail experts say are worthy of your attention -- and could help reshape the way you buy.

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A shopper could pull up an app to compare three different cereals, or they could just pick up the boxes and read. No electricity required.

May 06 2012 at 9:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply