What are the most innovative things retailers are doing with mobile?
March 31, 2015 6:59 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find the best, most interesting, perhaps most unusual things retailers are doing with reaching out to mobile phone users.

The retail business has been fascinating to watch ever since the birth of the smartphone, because there is so much potential to do interesting things. But many of the things that were really innovative a few years ago are table stakes now, stuff that everybody expects - hours and locations, maps, mobile wish list, etc.

I'm trying to find retailers that are using the uniqueness of the mobile phone to do really interesting things. There's a lot of buzzy stuff like beacons and location-based loyalty rewards, but a lot of it is just hypothetical. Which retail apps (and/or web-apps, not necessarily from an app store) have you used and thought, wow, that's a really exceptional way for me to use my phone to shop?

One example, although it's pretty much a failed one at this point, is the Firefly image recognition in the Amazon Fire phone, for example. Or there's The Hunt, in which people post a photo of a piece of clothing they're looking for, and the millions of users of the site go out and try to find it for sale, snapping photos with their mobile.
posted by jbickers to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I installed Shopkick, which rewards you with points (or "kicks") that translate into (very few) dollars on a gift card, just for walking into stores and/or taking photos of the codes on certain products in certain stores. It's a lot of work for not a tremendous amount of reward, but if I'm in a mall, I'll try to grab a few kicks just for the heck of it.
posted by xingcat at 7:19 AM on March 31, 2015

Starbucks app has a loyalty and gift cards tied in
posted by jander03 at 7:55 AM on March 31, 2015

Belly Loyalty Cards - I see this at non-chain lunch-type places is interesting (though I've never signed up).
Amazon has rolled out Prime Now in a bunch of cities, which is mobile app-only.
posted by loolie at 9:11 AM on March 31, 2015

Just announced - the Amazon Dash Button. It's not an April Fool's day gag either.
posted by GuyZero at 9:54 AM on March 31, 2015 [5 favorites]

I have the Amazon app on my phone. The other day, it buzzed and showed a notification that said "Mmm ... waffles" with a link to Amazon's page of waffle makers. I didn't buy one. Wish I got a screenshot since that was so bizarre.
posted by miyabo at 2:50 PM on March 31, 2015

I haven't used it, but IKEA has (or had?) an augmented reality app that lets you see how furniture would look in your room.
posted by daisyace at 4:16 PM on March 31, 2015

Allowing customers to use their phone as a handheld scanner for self-checkout.
posted by Ms. Next at 10:35 PM on March 31, 2015

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