BrainTrust Query: I Need an App for My Apps!!
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Mark Heckman Consulting blog.
Almost every week I run across a new shopping application attempting to enter the fray.
According to CatapultRPM’s 4th annual Digital Shopper Marketing (DSM) study, the most digitally-aided shoppers frequently use more than one shopping app to assist them in building shopping lists, loading coupons, finding items in the store, barcode scanning, and even comparing prices across retailers.
In addition to all of these new third partner applications, individual retailers offer their own specific apps for shoppers, each including as much utility as possible in hopes that the app itself becomes a reason for the consumer to fulfill a larger share of their requirements with that retailer.
With all the activity, I have often thought that if one app could combine the function and the offers of multiple retailers (especially the ones I shop), I would load that one in a heartbeat and delete all others in the name of shopping sanity. For the lack of a better term for this solution, let’s call it a "Community Shopping App."
One such platform from Loc Enterprises is designed to coalesce multiple loyalty programs for consumer convenience. A "Loc Card" identifies the cardholder at multiple retailers and then delivers all the program rewards of those participating retailers. It’s a "big idea" that makes so much sense for the consumer that Loc Enterprises is banking on consumer demand to lure the big retailers and their existing loyalty programs.
But this is a big "ask" from the "big" retailers, as they have always shown an aversion of participating in anything that requires an open transfer of data, whether offers or content to third parties that could potentially also be a platform for their chief competitors. I have yet to meet a retailer of any size or shape that relishes the thought of providing the consumer a quick and clear comparison of their offers against the best offers of their competition. In addition, most big retailers seem convinced their programs are sufficient to stand on their own. Unfortunately, without the big retailers, the Loc Card app will likely not gain sufficient consumer acceptance.
So now we wait and see who wins: the consumer who covets convenience or the retailers that demand exclusively ownership of the mobile application and it’s content.
Ultimately, consumers like me, that feel overwhelmed by the number of shopping apps that are currently available, will decide how this all shakes out. If we chose to not to shop at retailers that show reluctance to consumer-driven loyalty platforms, perhaps the big retailers will participate.
- I Think I Need an App for My Apps!! – Mark Heckman Consulting
- D.S.M. 4.0 – Catapult Marketing
- Loc Enterprises
What factors do you see working for and against community shopping apps? What attributes and functions would such an app need to have in order to win favor with both consumers and stores?