Every now and then I find myself at the Home Depot not far from my house. I’ve heard that Lowe’s is considering moving into my area of southwestern Connecticut and I will no doubt go there as well once they actually open. As my wife and I walked (wandered would be more the word) around the cavernous structure that is endemic to most Home Depots I wondered if there was a smartphone application, that offered the layout of the store I was in so that I could put in what I was looking for and be directed to the proper aisle.
When I checked it out later I learned that in fact there is such an application provided free by Home Depot. The apps offers the ability to purchase online, find a store near you and (for me) most important search items in the individual store and find the proper aisle. Lowe’s also has an app but the app does not offer the ability to search for particular items within the store – that’s a big drawback and it should be fixed.
Stop and Shop is very prominent in our area and at times I’ll be in a store that I don’t visit very often and wonder where I might find a particular item. One might think the Stop and Shop smartphone app would allow for an in-store item search. Sadly it does not. You can scan your items, create shopping lists, and check out ‘more easily’. You can order ahead of time and pick up at the store – something that sounds good but is not a habit ingrained in most people at this time. I realize that individual store units are laid out in different fashions making an individual store smartphone app a bit more challenging. However in terms of serving the customer I would say more easily finding items once in the store should be a primary focus, not a secondary one. I mean how hard could it be and even if it is difficult the value to the customer would be high and isn’t that reason enough?
As we all move forward in this mobile world, mobile applications and websites are fast becoming critical must-haves. I am often surprised at the lack of thinking that goes into what a smartphone app would actually perform. That the app has to be fast loading, easy to navigate are givens. Yet it seems to me that when it comes to smartphone apps that people really could use to their advantage, stores are often more interested in offering more ways to shop, or locate a store than what you would use it for once you were actually IN the store itself.
Have you found great or lousy smartphone store apps?