This year’s Nielsen report shows that almost half of the smartphone owners in the United States use a mobile shopping app. This is roughly equal to 45 million consumers.  And with the increase in “showrooming” driving in-store sales down, retailers are working to draw customers in-store using multiple channels of communication (see my recent blog on ‘omni-channel’ retailing).

Amazon, Ebay & Groupon are the current mobile shopping app leaders, but big doesn’t always mean better. From comparison apps to shopping curation experiences I’ve pulled together a few examples that bring to life mobile shopping’s best & brightest.

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As an alternative to traditional comparison apps, this one is incredibly social. Users can browse through products creating a list that is then shared and voted on. It takes the traditional shopping experience and turns it into a conversation/debate. Consumers enjoy giving/receiving opinions and feedback on an item all while the app shows them where it may be purchased once decided on.

Fab »

Fab is a fashionista’s dream app. It provides beautiful images for style inspiration that updates continuously via the site’s live activity feed. Sales previews are delivered to your handset and can be browsed by a variety of categories. Credits can be earned by sharing these styles on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, also through text and email. The app has over five million users and delivers a simple user interface and eye catching photos.

Netplenish »

Netplenish offers consumers the option of comparing prices on items that we all need, rather than the big ticket or splurge buys. Lists are created and results are delivered once the app automatically compares the prices in the area. There are two ways to create a list; a traditional search or scanning a barcode in store. Once on the list, products can be researched, compared, shared with friends, and purchased straight from the app. The app works with many major retailers that essentially compete to supply customers with household goods.

TheFind »

TheFind offers search results based on location, offering the best deal in the area for shoppers. thefind is ad free bar code scanning at its finest. Not only are prices compared, coupon codes are automatically detected in the area. Another feature that allows customers to save money is the price alert, where scanned items are stored and an alert is sent when on sale.

FastMall »

Online shopping is increasingly popular but a trip to the mall can still be an enjoyable shopping experience.  FastMall is an app that empowers you to take advantage of exploring new mall territory, confidently. The app can track your parking spot, find restrooms with a shake of your phone and gives you directions to stores. It also offers syncing to social media accounts and an option to view/leave reviews. Gone are the days of searching for maps or asking for directions in large shopping malls.

Apps like these will continue to evolve giving consumers even more choice & challenging retailers to continue to innovate.  The key will be keeping it simple while continuing to drive relevancy & differentiation.

What are your thoughts?

Jeff Fagel, Former VP Marketing

Jeff Fagel was formerly edo Vice President, Marketing and Brand Development.

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