We know that more and more consumers want holiday shopping at their fingertips. But we’ve passed a milestone this year—as Artisan Mobile’s research shows—by tipping the half-way mark, with 54% of consumers surveyed planning to do at least half of their holiday shopping through a mobile app.
The first, crucial opportunity for apps to cash in on this trend will be Black Friday. What are some of the top retailers doing to attract sales through their apps? Here are three very different mcommerce tactics, and how we think they’ll fare:
Walmart’s in-store price-matching: weak or wise?
Bargain-hunter bait: The Savings Catcher feature of Walmart’s mobile app promises to price-match its online competitors, asking for a mobile screenshot of the product selling cheaper elsewhere.
Will it work? Walmart’s price-matching pledge last week was immediately vulnerable to canny mobile users’ fake Amazon accounts, for example, beating Walmart down to sell a $399.99 PlayStation 4 for just $90.
Does Walmart’s move demonstrate gullibility? Or a wise (if not yet watertight) guard against the onset of ‘showrooming,’ when users browse in store and buy online? Using customers’ mobile data to flex prices down or up might be a necessary move towards dynamic pricing. It unites the price-comparison of mobile browsing with the immediate take-home of a store in order to trump ecommerce. This could even trigger reverse showrooming—known as ‘webrooming’—during which consumers find the best price online to then beat—and buy—in store.
We think: Whether or not Walmart can handle energetically dynamic pricing, mobile price-comparison will be a key driver in the store vs online and mobile shopping battle this Black Friday.
Holiday deals and rewards apps from FatWallet and take center stage on the App Store
Bargain-hunter bait: FatWallet’s updated Black Friday app, their new release Deal Hunter, and Ebates pay timely attention to clear, engaging app design in order to hit the feature list ahead of peak sales this Friday.
Will it work? FatWallet have renovated their Black Friday app to offer users the best in seasonal sales, and also launched their new Deal Hunter app for finding bargains year-round. Adit Shukla, Director of Creative Services at Two Toasters (who developed the FatWallet and Ebates apps) explained, “We wanted to present deal content in a clear yet engaging way.” For the Black Friday and Deal Hunter apps, extra delight comes from the simple swiping mechanic for deal ratings (right for thumbs up, left for thumbs down), and highlighting tappable areas on ad scans to drill into the specifics of hot holiday deals.
We think: Enjoyable, tappable deal-hunting is going to be a crucial mobile activity this Black Friday. Dominating will be those apps that make mcommerce most delightful by providing more than just what the time-pressured user needs.
Interactive map gets users on Target in-store
Will it work? Unlike Walmart’s app, which encourages shoppers to spend more time to browsing in-store, Target’s app escorts them to their product as fast as possible. Target’s “deal maps” for Black Friday offers have just been released. Once users are in store, they are pointed to the exact aisle where the products in their mobile shopping-cart are located, using location-based software. Interactive maps bring in-store product searching closer to the UX of online shopping, answering questions like like “Do you have it?” and “Where can I find it?” As an extra treat for the holidays, a special easter egg within the Target app will be revealed between 6pm on Thanksgiving and 8am on Black Friday.
We think: Forget the storefront: Target.com’s SVP Jason Goldberger sees mobile as “the new front door to Target.” Given the (sometimes dangerous) size of Black Friday crowds, Target’s app could be particularly effective in physically streamlining customers in and out of that door.
Consumers must not just decide on what to buy or where to buy their Black Friday bargains, but also how to buy them. Mobile commerce apps will be the first, sofa-bound step of a huge proportion of consumers, whose UX enjoyment and comfort will define the future of holiday shopping. So this is the store-front retailers should be focusing on.
Award-winning mobile design and development team to create consumer-facing application for groundbreaking development project
DURHAM, NC and NEW YORK—November 25, 2014—Leading mobile app design and development agency Two Toasters today announced they have been chosen by Google’s Advanced Technologies and Products group (ATAP) to build the Android app for the Project Ara module marketplace. The Ara Module Marketplace (analogous to Google Play but for Ara hardware modules) will act as a consumer’s primary tool for learning about, exploring, configuring, purchasing, and managing Ara devices and modules.
“We’re excited to be working on Project Ara and be a part of a fundamental re-imagining of smartphones,” said Rachit Shukla, CEO at Two Toasters, “To be selected because of our expertise in designing mobile user experiences is a great honor, and we look forward to the unique collaborations that arise from this effort.”
About Project Ara
Project Ara is a development effort to create a modular hardware ecosystem—rivaling mobile apps in the pace and level of innovation—around smartphones, with the goal of delivering the mobile Internet to the next 5 billion people. Project Ara aims to enable users to create a modular smartphone that is precisely tailored to their functional and aesthetic preferences. Ultimately, customers will be able to buy a complete Ara phone, configure one from scratch, or buy additional modules, the building blocks that make up the majority of the phone’s functionality and features, through the Ara Module Marketplace.
About Two Toasters
Two Toasters is a critically acclaimed mobile product development agency that strategizes, designs, and develops native iOS and Android apps for partner companies. We provide end-to-end mobile product design, development, usability testing, and quality assurance. Our clients range in size from established tech giants (Airbnb, Simple) and international brands (Regal Cinemas, Zumba, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Lexus) to early stage, venture-backed startups (Luvocracy, Birchbox, JackThreads). We build products that are user-centric, incorporating user feedback to ensure that the apps are intuitive and useful.
Two Toasters’ Android team members Chris Pierick and James Barr recently attended Droidcon London, the largest European conference for Android developers. We sat down with Chris and James to talk about the event and get a few details on what they learned.
Why did you want to attend Droidcon?
Chris: What really interested me were the talks focused on Android 5.0 and the design language. Not to mention the opportunities to learn directly from some of the major players in Android and at Google, like Chris Banes, Chet Haase, and Cyril Mottier.
James: I read a lot of posts written by the Android development community; meeting the people that I learn so much from online, including devs on Twitter and the Styling Android blog, was one of the big reasons I wanted to attend. There were also several talks on specific libraries and tools that I felt I could learn a lot from.
James: I really enjoyed finding out more about RxJava, a relatively new library for handling asynchronous events within Android development. Learning specialized tips and tricks for creating a good-looking app using the Canvas API (Chiu-Ki Chan’s “Fun with Android Shaders and Filters”) was also one of the highlights of the event for me.
Chris: Android Wear is something I am interested in, and Cyril Mottier’s presentation on the topic was very helpful for projects I hope to work on in the near future. Unlike typical Android apps, in which a user launches an app and is faced with a wide variety of potential interactions, developing Android Wear should use contextual UI with very simple actions so that users only get what they need, when they need it. For example, if you create an app that enables train ticket purchases, one option might be to notify the wearer with a notification in his/her context stream when the train is coming.
Were there any pleasant surprises?
Earlier this month Two Toasters’ Director of Development Josh Johnson was invited to speak at the inaugural [360|iDev min] conference in Greenville, South Carolina. Josh delivered a technical talk on the new HealthKit framework in iOS 8. Check out his full presentation below.
DURHAM, N.C.—August 20, 2014—Leading mobile app development company Two Toasters today announced that it has been ranked number 787 on Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 list for 2014. The magazine’s list, now in its eighth year, is an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies and represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s independent entrepreneurs.
“Our growth is a testament to our great team that we have assembled over the years and our continued pursuit to improving our craft,” said Rachit Shukla, CEO at Two Toasters, “We are pleased to be included on this distinguished list of our peers.”
To celebrate this achievement, Two Toasters has launched a Crowdrise campaign to benefit the non-profit organization Girls Who Code (http://girlswhocode.com/), whose mission is to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors. The campaign’s goal is to reach $5,000 in donations by September 15, 2014. If the goal is met, Two Toasters will contribute an additional $5,000, providing $10,000 in total funds to the non-profit group. (more…)