There was once a time that shopping involved flitting from one shop to the next. A glance in one store was followed by a dash over the road to another. A quick mental comparison of prices followed, along with the ever-important point of how far you'd have to lug your purchase back to the car.
But then the great online catalogue shop opened and more and more realised the benefits of the Internet. Home delivery, cheaper prices and not having to stand at the till came to the fore. But is there a happy middle ground between on and offline shopping? We think there is.
Everyone is familiar with Amazon. If nothing else, it's played a huge part in making internet shopping work. The breadth of stock that the store now has and at very competitive prices, makes it a compelling option when shopping online.
The Amazon Mobile app is surprisingly effective too. We've used it on Android and iPhone and it plays a key role in bridging the divide between the inspiration of high street shopping and the bargains available online.
Online shopping is great when you know what you want, but nothing quite beats walking through a department store browsing for inspiration. This is where Amazon Mobile really comes in. Not only will the app let you search, but it also offers barcode scanning, so you can pick up something you fancy and see if it's available for cheaper.
Not only that, but because the app links into your Amazon account you can then go through to order the item. You might be walking along when your other half says they'd like a CD or DVD. No problem, fire up the Amazon app and within a minute it's done. No need to join the masses at the tills fighting to pay.
Barcode scanning really comes into its own because you can use it to build a wishlist and fill your basket. You might share this wishlist for others to buy from, or you might use it to collect interesting things to buy later in the comfort of your own home.
The other interesting option is that it then allows sharing. Scan an item and head into the details and you'll find the normal sharing options. Android naturally gives you a much more comprehensive run of sharing options, but you can have the details on Twitter, Facebook or out in an email or text message in no time from either platform.
Shopping feels like a surprisingly connected experience when you can scan and compare without having to do anything at all. Of course, it also clears up some of those other shopping mishaps: when you say you'll buy it online, only to find it isn't available. A quick check and you'll know.
Of course, it isn't the only online store, it isn't the only price comparison service, but for those that use Amazon as their store of choice, it does make it surprisingly easy to buy online without the delay of getting home first.
High street stores do struggle to compete in the face of the online onslaught and with the Amazon Mobile app in your armoury, you're better placed to battle for bargains and get the best deal for yourself.