So this week I’ve been given the task of talking about a social media application based in my industry. Unfortunately with working in retail there really isn’t a ton of social media functionality in their applications. Most applications out there will really just be apps to find products in their stores. You name a store and their application will mostly be searching their inventory, weekly ads, maybe adding the ability to shop via the app but that’s about it. Most are generic and run of the mill, not really adding any kind of social options, however if I was going to choose any of the applications to look at, it be looking at my current employer’s app, Best Buy. I will look at this from an impartial standpoint and not the idea of being a company man. Just looking at the app for what it is.
The Best Buy app is a step up from what it used to be, I was told it used to crash on a regular basis and didn’t really have any functionality. Thank goodness they stepped it up a tad to give some more options to it. Much like I expressed before you have your run of the mill features that every retailer has on their application. Basically viewing deals and deals for the day. A few of the things they add is ability to check on order statuses. In the store on their product tags they have QR codes and can scan those to get more information on the products. Another feature they add compared to other retailers is ability to check if your phone is capable for an upgrade and can check trade in prices for video games. Which right there puts them ahead of one of their bigger competitors, Gamestop. I downloaded their application to see what they offer. It only gives the ability to view and purchase games, however it does not give any options to view trade in credit. This is kind of a nice option to have. As an active game, I’ve always wondered what my game is worth before bringing it in and for lack of a better term, getting screwed over. At least with Best Buy, you can get an idea of your game will be worth when you bring it in.
One of the other things that Best Buy does with their application that is similar to a few other apps is their rewards program. Other retailers and businesses use like Starbucks, Walgreens, etc. Now I will say the one thing I think Best Buy could improve with their rewards program on their app is that there are some apps out there that allow members to scan their card on their phone. I see it at Starbucks all the time. In fact the other day I dealt with a customer who was annoyed and rather angry that he phone number wasn’t registering with our POS (point of sale) system to get his points and says it’s constantly an issue. I think if more retailers started doing this with their smart apps, it might be a bit more convenient and consumers would have fewer cards to carry around.
However when it comes down to a social aspect, retailers including Best Buy really don’t have much to offer in the social field with their apps. Maybe they could offer links to their social websites through the apps, but that might make things a little redundant, because I could just go to my Facebook or Twitter app and search for their social media pages. I’ll be honest I don’t know what retailers could do to put in social aspects to smart applications. When you’re going to a store to by a TV or groceries or a coffee, there’s not much in interaction with other customers, mostly with the associates themselves. So while their smart app might take things a bit further than competitors, from a social aspect there’s not much there and I don’t think there’s much to add other than the idea of direct links to their social pages and the same goes for other retailers as well. They won’t be pushing any boundaries but at least it will be steps in a newer direction.