Best Buy Launches iPhone App

Jul 02, 2009

By George Anderson

Best Buy hasn’t beat the drums about it, but the consumer electronics chain
is taking steps to leverage the power of mobile marketing including the creation
of a new iPhone application called the “Best Buy Gamers Club.”

The app, which was created for Best Buy by Slifter, enables consumers to
search for products online, provides special offers and discounts, delivers
unique gaming content and the latest news about upcoming games.

"Retailers look at
mobile devices as a great way to provide value and communicate with people
who are on the go," Alex Muller, CEO of Slifter, New York, told Mobile

"Everyone has a mobile
phone these days and so for a brand it is a powerful tool to help consumers
with their shopping needs," he said.

The gaming app is not Best Buy’s first foray into mobile marketing. The chain
is running ads for a app created for the iPhone and iPod Touch. People
who click on the app get linked to Best Buy’s Twitter posts.

"I think at a high level, every bricks-and-mortar retailer is aiming
to ultimately drive in-store sales," Mr. Muller told Mobile Marketer.
"Retailers are able to communicate special in-store events, offers and what
is and is not in stock right to the consumers’ hands.

"Mobile makes it
very easy to facilitate loyalty, commerce and to give consumers access to
a brand and its products and services right into the palm of their hands,
whenever and wherever they may be," he added.

Discussion Questions: Will mobile apps for the
iPhone and other devices facilitate commerce and shopper loyalty as suggested
in the Mobile Marketer article? In what ways – types of communications,
promotions, etc. – do you think retailers will use mobile apps most often
in the future?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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9 Comments on "Best Buy Launches iPhone App"

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Max Goldberg
11 years 10 months ago

The best mobile phone applications for retailers will be those that offer discounts and promotions. Consumers want convenience and savings. Coupons on items they regularly purchase and other suggested items should be sent directly to their phones and the phones can be used to deliver those discounts at checkout. Special promotional offers can be delivered the same way.

Remember that these apps are all opt-in, not push advertising. This is an important distinction, as most consumers do not want random advertising delivered to their mobile phones. By opting in, consumers are giving permission to dialogue with a retailer. By delivering value and convenience, the retailer provides a reason to keep the dialogue going and has an opportunity to grow the relationship with that consumer.

Liz Crawford
11 years 10 months ago

Today’s New York Times showcases E*Trade’s new mobile app. Best Buy’s app is today’s discussion, yesterday Sears had their own announcement on mobile functions. Will mobile apps be important for retailers? Heck Yes!

All of the functions of mobile apps, and those in the pipeline, are retail functions: product review, sales alerts, monitoring innovation, customer feedback and support, and purchase. This is retail. It’s not just the four walls anymore. What is the role of bricks and mortar now? Experience, personal service, special events, see-and-touch, shopper cohort networking and product pick-up.

What is the role of the mobile app in retail? Brand involvement and loyalty, social networking, insider opportunities to purchase, information, one-to-one dialoguing, entertainment, and convenience. We’ll be segmenting shoppers by their app use and targeting accordingly. Very exciting.

Rick Moss
11 years 10 months ago
Had a quick look at Best Buy’s app. On the pro side, the layout is clean, choices are presented simply and I like the fact that the deals clearly indicate the expiration dates. There are some cons, though, that give the impression Best Buy rushed this out a little too quickly. First, the name threw me. By calling it “Gamers Club” they’re indicating it’s exclusively designed for that group. Although there’s a gamers section in the app, the “Weekly Deals” include everything from GPS devices to DVDs. Why limit the audience? Also, in the initial list view of deals, I expected to see prices. That requires a click (touch?) to each product detail screen – a lot of extra work. And the pricing does not show the discount amount or original list price, so no way to judge how good the deal is. Another weakness, IMHO, is that the “Buy online” button calls up Best Buy’s standard web page, which is not sized for the iPhone display. That means a lot of zooming and panning… Read more »
Anne Bieler
Anne Bieler
11 years 10 months ago

Retailers have a solid opportunity through mobile apps to reach some of their most loyal shoppers. These are the people who want to learn more about retailer offerings and are willing to invest to become part of a special community.

Kraft has recipes and menu suggestions to help busy shoppers with its app–and works because it provides information shoppers want when they need it to purchase. For Best Buy, now that have the shoppers attention focused on their offerings, communication should be clear and on target–with the ability to follow up efficiently. Great way to reach this target group.

Matthew Spahn
Matthew Spahn
11 years 10 months ago

iPhone Apps offer a consistent offline experience while the data gets better and better each time they use it. This can create a much more loyal connection with consumers. Traditional mobile advertising is expected to grow at an annual average of 45% and reach $29 billion within the next 5 years and this will be on pace to account for 5-10% of global media ad spend.

There remain certain challenges with mobile marketing that include an inability to track conversions since you can’t cookie a handset, lack of uniform operating systems and accurate targeting but those will eventually get addressed.

In the meantime, there are 50MM mobile web users in the US so building customer relationships through this device cannot be ignored. Ultimately the quality of the experience and fresh content will keep consumers with short attention spans engaged.

Herb Sorensen, Ph.D.
11 years 10 months ago
Learning how to sell to shoppers through their phone or PDA is half of what I refer to as the “Amazonification” of retail. There will ultimately be a seamless integration of online/offline retailing, since ALL retailing has three basic components: 1. The mental part, where an offer is made and accepted–introduction, engagement and the close. 2. Physical delivery of the goods/services. 3. Payment. The mental part, the most important part, follows the same pattern whether online or offline. (See Peter Fader’s and Wendy Moe’s chapter in my new book, Inside the Mind of the Shopper.) The delivery MAY have immediacy in the bricks-and-mortar store (often an advantage.) But payment is indifferent to the online/offline paradigm, unless actual cash changes hands–remember cash??? That paper and metal physical representation of value? 🙂 The final Amazonification of the bricks-and-mortar world will require sensitivity to the shopper’s location relative to the merchandise. Are they far from the store, possibly at home? Are they within convenient distance to the store? Are they in the store? Are they in the aisle… Read more »
Joel Warady
Joel Warady
11 years 10 months ago
This question seems to be coming up more and more. The fact is, having a mobile marketing strategy is becoming a must, both for manufacturers as well as for retailers. But that being said, the implementation of the strategy must make sense, and the technology must work properly. As Rick mentioned in an earlier post, if the sizing of the web page is not proper for a mobile device, or the loading times of sites take too long, the consumer will not use the technology, and then the mobile strategy will fail miserably. But this does not mean companies should not experiment. The worst thing that a company can do is to sit on the sidelines and watch other initiatives take hold, and then join the mobile world with a “me-too” strategy. If the initial execution doesn’t work, fine, make changes, and continue to move forward. Consumers are used to 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 variations of software, and they are forgiving. As long as companies are willing to listen to their consumers, and hear what… Read more »
M. Jericho Banks PhD
M. Jericho Banks PhD
11 years 10 months ago

Here’s a portion of my comments from a similar discussion earlier this week: I’m concerned about adding yet more ways to distract drivers. Negligent (no alcohol) driving is now responsible for nearly 65% of U.S. traffic fatalities, while alcohol-related traffic fatalities have dropped to less than 35%. This trend is continuing because “[negligent driving] deadens a driver’s reactions more than alcohol” ( Here in California it’s illegal for drivers to use phones in the car that are not hands-free. Texting by drivers is also illegal. Yet, I see them all the time, in addition to idiots using non-hands-free phones while riding bicycles. They are distracted and dangerous, and we’re adding ways to increase the distractions.

Kai Clarke
11 years 10 months ago

Although many people have mobile phones, the sheer number of people using them to go online–let alone go shopping–is very small. This really sounds like a solution looking for a problem that is truly just not that big of a deal. BB is using it as a promotional vehicle, and really, that is just about all that it is.


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