Mobile Monday: Best Buy

Feb. 20, 2011

Welcome to Mobile Monday, a weekly column by customer experience expert Mike Wittenstein, focused on mobile apps in retail. Each Monday, you'll get a customer's-eye view of smart phones, tablets, and occasionally behind-the-scenes technology.

Last week, we reviewed the Bebe app. It offers lots of functionality, but doesn't (yet) offer an on-brand experience.

Quick Summary
This week, we review the Best Buy app. It is very on-brand because it copies the in-store experience and because it's designed from the buyer's perspective. It supports in-store, at-the-competition, and out-and-about shopping scenarios equally well. Comparison shopping is this app's strength. It is one other retailers can learn from.

Just like walking into a real store, you get a smile. The first screen is friendly.

The Search menu seems familiar because it matches the in-store departments.

You can get to the products highlighted in the weekly ad with a single click.

The third way to shop is through special offers.

Finding a store near you is a three-click process

Click on "More" and Best Buy really struts its customer experience.

You can help BestBuy by sharing a piece of your mind (or reading what others have to say).

There's even a built-in bar code scanner so you can find out about products without having to leave the app. This is a super-friendly feature and gives shoppers the feeling that they're getting full information.

In addition, there's an image search capability. Just take a picture of what you want (or something like it) and it will show you similar items on your screen. I snapped an image of my laptop keyboard and it found "Laptop Computers".

A picture of the white Apple logo from the back of my laptop got even more specific results. Pretty cool.

From inside the app, you can also request sales support by text or dial the Best Buy Helpline with a single click.

Best Buy lets you control how much and what you see in the settings dialog. Shoppers of non-necessity items are extra particular about how they like to get information so this is a valuable feature for some.

Social media is tied to the shopper experience and offers a variety of collaboration options, including a QR scanner.

Best Buy makes it easy to shop — and easy to buy — from the palm of your hand.

Another very practical feature that mimics the way people like to buy is that the Best Buy app supports comparison shopping when you're in the Best Buy store—or at another store. Just activate the scanner right from the product page to display the comparison information for another product side-by-side. This is the most valuable feature of the app in this reviewer's opinion.

The only weaknesses I found with the Best Buy app were an absent Add to Cart button on a specially priced television…

…and the odd appearance of a gas dryer when the "Similar Items" button was clicked from the television screen.

Best Buy seems to be authentic about empowering its customers. Product recommendations, good and bad, are available from each product page.

Checking out is simple too.

What's Good

  • Buyer-centered design
  • Built-in apps (like scanner and call for help)
  • Comparison shopping enabled

What's Not So Good

  • Not everything shown can be purchased
  • Out-of-place recommendations

What I Would Do

  • Add some Geek Squad features
  • Allow for express in-store pick-up (scheduled)
  • Advertise this app (shelf talkers in the smart phone section, overhead on the flat screen monitors, and in the Sunday newspaper circulars)
  • Add analytics on users' phones (with permission, of course) to supply the right kind of service, product info, and offers unobtrusively and at just the right time.

Topics: Mobile Payments , Mobile Retail , Omnichannel / Multichannel , Retail - Electronics , Technology

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