Bargain-hunter Bait: Retail Apps Drawing in Black Friday Crowds

We know that more and more consumers want holiday shopping 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 Ebates 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

Bargain-hunter bait: Refined interactive maps guide smartphone users to the shelf they need.

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.

In Conclusion

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.