The Mobile Apps That Do Not Make Life Easier within the Retail Industry

Mobile applications are instrumental platforms that allow the retailer to become one with customer and remove the barrier between the two. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the tagline “there is an app for that” has become modern language and a way of life. With that, the retail team downloaded three mobile apps and tried them.

Out of the applications that we chose to test (RedLaser, Pounce and Mallzee), RedLaser was the only app that actually was a reliable source. Pounce, which allows a user to take a picture of an item and purchase it right through the app, did not effectively work. It pulled up similar items, but not the actual item we wanted.

The other, Mallzee, was “awful” as my team members identified. This personal shopper app was not intuitive or helpful, in fact one of my team members uses Wanelo, which is an app that you can purchase items through in one place.

It is interesting to note that the applications that claim to be intuitive and helpful, are actually not helpful. I instead prefer to use apps such as the one for Nordstrom and Macy’s that are directly linked to the retailer. Let us know what your thoughts on the applications are, and if you have any other applications that ease the interactions with the retailer!

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11 Responses to The Mobile Apps That Do Not Make Life Easier within the Retail Industry

  1. Samantha R December 2, 2015 at 11:08 pm #

    Convenience in daily activities, including shopping, has become critical to consumers multitasking their hectic schedules. Due to online user accessibility because of the internet, consumers are able to make purchases using their mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Although a majority of mobile apps create an easy customer-retailer relationship to be established through this online access, there are those that do the opposite. In Jimmy Farney’s “The Mobile Apps That Do Not Make Life Easier Within The Retail Industry”, the author goes into discussion about certain apps that do not truly provide the claimed benefit to the consumer and retailer.
    Within the article, the author talks about an experiment the retail team performed in which it downloaded three different mobile apps. The apps that were chosen were Redlaser, Pounce, and Mallzee. I have not personally heard of any of these mobile apps but I find it interesting that only one of the apps was found reliable. The author brings up a valid point that certain apps claim to be helpful when the quality does not provide adequate support. These style of apps have difficulties competing with apps connected directly with the retailer such as the example of the department store mobile app.

  2. Yonjery Perez December 3, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

    The term, “There is an app for that” indeed has become part of modern language for us. We use this term when we want to eliminate the barrier of going on the Internet and either purchasing a product or looking for information. For instance, if someone wanted to look at their bank account they can download an app and save the hassle of going on the Internet and searching what they want to know. Purchases using a mobile app has become part of our daily lives. Since we have it in the palm of our hands, using the app beats the purpose of going on the website.
    In the article, three apps experimented on. These apps were Redlaser, Pounce, and Mallzee. I never heard of these products until I read the article. According to the experiment, Redlaser was the only app that was a reliable source. Pounce was a headache because you would take a picture of the product and many products similar to it showed up except for the product they actually wanted. Mallzee was the worse app because it was not helpful or intuitive.

  3. Yonjery Perez December 3, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

    The term, “There is an app for that” indeed has become part of modern language for us. We use this term when we want to eliminate the barrier of going on the Internet and either purchasing a product or looking for information. For instance, if someone wanted to look at their bank account they can download an app and save the hassle of going on the Internet and searching what they want to know. Purchases using a mobile app has become part of our daily lives. Since we have it in the palm of our hands, using the app beats the purpose of going on the website.
    In the article, three apps experimented on. These apps were Redlaser, Pounce, and Mallzee. I never heard of these products until I read the article. According to the experiment, Redlaser was the only app that was a reliable source. Pounce was a headache because you would take a picture of a product and many products similar to it showed up except for the product they actually wanted. Mallzee was the worse app because it was not helpful or intuitive.

  4. Ryan Hardrove December 4, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    I found this article to be interesting because we are in a world now where we are always on social media look at the term, “There is an app for that” indeed that has become part of modern language for all of us. We use this term when we want to eliminate the barrier of going on the Internet and either purchasing a product or looking for information. For instance, if someone wanted to look at their bank account they can download an app and save the hassle of going on the Internet and searching what they want to know that’s how big the internet has grown in the past 15 years. Look at buying items over the internet you can make purchases using a mobile app which has now become a big part of our daily lives. Since we have it in the palm of our hands, using the app beats the purpose of going on the website.
    In the article, three apps experimented on. These apps were Redlaser, Pounce, and Mallzee. I never heard of these products until I read the article. According to this experiment, Redlaser was the only app that was a reliable source. Pounce was a headache because you would take a picture of a product and many products similar to it showed up except for the product they actually wanted. Mallzee was the worse app because it was not helpful or intuitive. So that shows that even though there are many apps today, not all of the apps work properly. I found this article interesting because it talks about how apps around the world has changed our lives when it comes to everyday things in our lives.

  5. Aaron Varghese December 4, 2015 at 6:04 pm #

    This blog post discussed the very interesting new development of applications crossing over to the retail industry. As we all know(hopefully), the rapid increases in technology has resulted in many new trends and advances that has revolutionized previously existing industries by either completely making them obsolete or by becoming critical to the success of these industries in the present day and age. Jimmy described how his team experimented with a form of new disruption technology that has had an impact on the retail industry. This involves the use of apps to purchase items of desire. Now, I had never used any of these apps before and was not even familiar with a few of the apps Jimmy and his team experimented with so I had to do some research to understand completely what Jimmy was talking about and why his opinions were so. When I clicked on the RedLaser link I was just as lost as I was before. From what I gathered from the website, Redlaser is a mobile barcode scanner and seems to be pretty effective based on Jimmy’s blog post. This is definitely a big disruption because customers no longer will be in need of trying to figure out what the price of a certain item is as long as they have the app. I checked out the app Pounce and watched a promotional video as well. It definitely seems like a good idea but did not seem developed enough to be completely effective. Jimmy validated this assumption through his experiment. I checked out Mallzee and it actually seemed quite interesting. Having access as a shopper to the inventory of numerous popular stores seems like a great app to have on hand and adds more convenience versus searching on the internet via the shop’s website. But according to the experiment, the app was terrible and had no intuitive abilities to relate to the individual shopper. I also checked out Wanelo, which was apparently used by one of Jimmy’s friends. I am assuming that the app must be somewhat functional based on the fact that someone is giving credibility to this app. However, the app is clearly meant for female shoppers and only seems to promote accessory items and apparel. Jimmy also said how certain stores have apps that display their store’s inventory while showing when big sales and deals come about. There is definitely usefulness to applications in the retail industry based upon this experiment. However, it is also evident that the implementation of the disruptive app technology into the retail industry is far from perfect as of now. If the Mallzee app can be perfected to use big data of past transactions using your credit card observing your credit card purchases to provided you with a database of stores that carry products that could have interest to you while notifying you of relevant sales as well, I would call that the perfection of app technology mixed with retailing. If this type of app will occur in the future, I do not know for sure. But I think it is safe to say that something very similar(if not exactly like what I said) will eventually appear in the near future.

  6. Daniel Kelly December 8, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    I felt that the chosen applications may not have allowed the researchers to come to a fuller understanding of application integration, the apps chosen were none that I have ever used and I always thought the purpose of those apps was to work with a particular store like Macy’s or Amazon. Come to think of it, I am certain that an Amazon application exists where you can find and buy all of the useless nonsense to fill the empty holes in our hearts. As for pounce, to me the idea sounds very cool and futuristic where you take a picture of a product you would like to own and it finds one for you. Sadly recognition software is not up to snuff just yet and that is a real shame. I would like to see that employed in the future with greater deft and ability. Certainly there has to be one better unifying app, one for bringing together chain stores but of course it will be a long time before we have an in house product that does something like this and it would never display competitors. Honestly, I would rather see an application for larger sets of stores like those found in malls, one in which you can search out a particular product and see if they have it in stock. Maybe this is because I dislike going to malls and only go occasionally for a single product. Of course it would require the mall themselves to force their stores into the gig rather than the stores because why would they wish to increase the competition and serve customers. As of now, I see Amazon being the best hope to have the selection and stock in order to make a searching app reliable and useful to a wider audience.
    I would agree with the conclusion of the group presented, that apps for Nordstrom and Macy’s are far better than these third party apps and that’s because they have the money, time and resources to make these app useful to their customers. Soon enough I think third party apps for internet sites will be good enough to compare with their original counterparts but this has not come just yet. I already find the process of buying items in brick and mortar stores to be tedious and add to that the fact that you might have to call them in order to check stock, makes their applications almost useless to me, why would I use an app that tells me how much a product is and maybe where I can find it but never gives fully up to date information and could be sold when I get there. It would be open, available and even give me the option to pay for a product online and skip the line altogether. I would certainly have liked that when I was brought to black Friday sales and waited in line for about two hours for a shirt. When I could have ordered, payed and walked out within minutes, you would almost think they want the stories to be crowded and uncomfortable.

  7. Matthew Flanagan December 11, 2015 at 11:04 am #

    There literally is an app for every need that we have today. There are apps that help you track your exercise, keep track of your money, and even shop. Obviously, if a company is not connected with an app, then they are seriously losing out on profits that could easily be gained. In the retail industry, obviously the amazon app has the majority of retail app users. Since you can buy almost anything off of amazon, there is almost no point to have any other app like RedLaser, Pounce, or Mallzee. Because anything can be bought through amazon at the lowest prices available, amazon nearly has a monopoly over the entire online shopping market.
    Personally, the only time I don’t use amazon for a gift is when I have a gift card or I’m looking for a specific item. And I always look on amazon to find a good price for the item before I go on any other website. In order for any company to break through amazon’s dominance over the online shopping market, they must do something significant and apps like Punce and Mallzee are not significantly more innovative than Amazon. At this point it would be nearly impossible for any company to compete on the level that amazon competes because of the variety of products and services that they have. They are now coming out with their own tablets and phones. They provide video streaming services, have an app store, offer almost every product you could think of, provide 1 day shipping, and soon they will offer same-day shipping. Amazon is so well established and so well branded that it would be impossible to compete. And even if another app did compete, they always have the ability to acquire their smaller competitors because they have so much money.
    All though Amazon is the biggest name in the online retail industry, there is still a use for other retail apps. Brand specific retail apps are very useful for people who are fans of specific brands. In addition to the Nordstrom and Macy’s apps, apps that are still big are apps like Nike because they also have a huge share of the sports market. Nike is one of the most well-known brands in the world because they have such a huge marketing budget and because of other things like sponsorships and athlete partnerships. These store specific apps are very useful for people who like to shop for specific items from brands that they know they like, but if you are looking for an app that is for every item, then Amazon is ultimately the way to go.

    • Marquise Moseley December 11, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

      I agree with Matt completely. His idea that there are apps out there that can satisfy our every day needs is something that everyone sees in the world we live in today. The biggest app in my opinion is also Amazon. I personally do not have that much experience in using apps like Amazon because I usually use the direct retailer app, but I do know that the few times I did go on their app they had everything. Not only did Amazon have every item that I was looking for but they also had all of them at a low price. Amazon does a good job at undercutting these other companies by delivering the same product but at a better price.
      Also, Matt pointed out that Amazon is really expanding their brand and products. He mentioned that Amazon is now developing their own phones and tablets, and I think when they do this that all companies will begin to be in some trouble when it comes to online apps. Their profit from their online apps will drop the moment that Amazon finishes these “renovations” that they are in the process of making happen. Amazon already has a very diverse product inventory, but by including Amazon made products too in the near future I think it can change their business for the better. Amazon is on the rise, and I think that this is just the beginning. I know it has been around for a very long time, but it feels like they have just hit their prime. With all of this new technology and information in online apps coming out today I think amazon will get a hold of some of this information and find a way to incorporate it into their own site.
      I think that some of these other small online retailer apps that this article mentioned are also kind of cool. More specifically, I think Pounce is really on to something. If any of these small online retailer mobile apps has a chance I think this is the one you should lean on. Pounce seems to be looking for the future with their online app main idea. The idea of being able to take a picture of your item and the app pulling up that exact same item with all the details on the order is very futuristic. It will help people who may not have much time to surf the web and all of that other time consuming stuff. For the moment it is not really that effective because we currently do not have all of the information, technology, and studies that this app will need in order to run to the best of its capability. I think in the very near future this mobile app will begin to thrive, and maybe even find a way to take over the much larger company, in Amazon. I know this idea sounds very far fetched, but I personally have a lot of belief in this futuristic app. Pounce seems to just be a little ahead of their time, but the idea is new, hot, and what the future needs. Keep an eye out for this small app to flourish very soon.

  8. Rushil Gandhi December 11, 2015 at 8:28 pm #

    Currently we live in a world where there is an app for everything. From scanning or editing a simple document to having a personal shopper there are thousands of apps that do a thousand different things. However, the personal shopper apps that are mentioned in this post are quite intriguing. Though the idea of having an app that adapts to your tastes and personality and then shops for you seems quite cool, I just don’t think it is logistically possible in the smartphone. What I mean by this is that having a service that consistently gets your tastes right and shows up the right thing on screen is not possible with the processors we have today. There are millions of different personalities, choices, combinations and other influences that affect the shopper that an app cannot comprehend. This post mentions RedLaser, Pounce and Mallzee as the ones to be tested and I am not surprised at the results that the author articulates in his writing. I personally think that applications that are designed to do things such as personal shopping are quite gimmicky these days. But I do see that in the future these apps will become much more reliable and easier to use. Amazon and EBay seem to have the shopping app idea figured out but the rest of the market is struggling far behind. Granted these apps are used mostly to purchase useless items that just fulfill our urge to shop online, but I genuinely believe that they will come good in the future. The author mentions that he prefers apps that are directly linked to the retailers and I seem to agree with him. Apps from stores like Walmart and others mentioned post, however, seem to be littered with bugs and user inefficiencies. As a result, the user experience is often painful and the individual just resorts to moaning in frustration and then visiting the brick and mortar outlet itself. Ultimately, the idea of having an app that intuitively helps an individual shop to their tastes and get the bests deals is good. Nevertheless, the execution of this idea needs to improve drastically before anyone can start using these kinds of applications on a permanent basis. Ultimately, even if these kinds of apps become mainstream, I will not be using them as much because the feeling of physically exchanging cash for your product at the register is not the same as pressing on a digital screen and then waiting for your product to arrive in the mail.

  9. Isabel Goodman December 11, 2015 at 8:39 pm #

    An app for a retail store is supposed to be a quick way to access information and get a better experience than the traditional website. “Supposed to be” is the key aspect of that last sentence. All too often these apps do not live up to the hype. They are hard to use, frustrating, and do not do what they say they will. I see this phenomenon occurred in the experiment for this blog post. Apps that claim they can do things they cant frustrate the user and make it impossible to trust the company. We want a fast and easy way to do our shopping and all too often we are let down by the incapability of the application. The solution for this is either to not use the app, or create a better version of it. If you don’t use the app then you must go to the store and figure out what you want which saves neither time not effort. We want everything to be fast and easy and traveling to the store is “how very 20th century” as Professor Shannon would say. There is no need to ever go to another brick-and-mortar store again, which begs the need for a solution. The solution is a better app. There is no reason why these apps should be so dysfunctional with the amount of technology we currently have. It is up to us to create a better app experience because we understand the frustration of downloading an app with high expectations and constantly being let down. Technology is changing the way we live and apps are constantly being made in order to help pave the way and make the transition more user-friendly. This blog post mentioned the app “Wanelo”. I have experience using this app and have had a very good experience with it. The app allows you to buy directly from the application and because of that, it is a positive experience for the user. The other apps mentioned try to be like the app “Wanelo”, but fail miserably. These apps need to look at the ones that are successful and model themselves after those in order to truly differentiate themselves and have users want to download and use their app. Retail stores that have their own apps are typically pretty good and should also be considered as models for other apps to be based off of. All in all, I believe apps will get better over time, but for now there is a major problem when it comes to them, as the blog points out. There is a desire by everyone to have these apps and people could make a lot of money if they just determined how to create a better one. There is a lot of money in the app industry and I believe the person who comes up with a solution to this will find themselves at the head of the retail industry. Everything is moving from physical stores to online, so the more we work on this, the faster the change will be.

  10. Hannah Isaacs September 27, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    This article discusses the good and bad in shopping applications, but focuses on the second or third party applications not specifically the Macy’s or Nordstrom type of applications. Using applications to shop on my phone has always been something that I am not 100% comfortable doing. I do not like the idea of putting my credit card information into an App on my cell phone. I have always felt more comfortable shopping on a laptop or a desk top when doing online shopping. However, I have found certain applications that I do not mind completing transactions though. For example, I live by my Starbucks app, I will load money onto the card and use my phone to pay multiple times a day. In my opinion this comes with brand awareness and customer loyalty. In addition those two factors increase because the app works in favor of the consumer.
    This article does research on three different applications that claim to be helpful in the retail side of life. The three apps that were looked at were, Redlaser, Pounce, and Mallzee. At the end of the research the group of people testing out the applications found most were not user friendly and not actually helpful when wanting to shop. They author of the article concluded that Redlaser was the only app that was reliable. It is interesting to read these finding because we rely on applications to make life easier when sometimes they just make easy tasks like shopping even harder.

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