I loved this article on MobileINSIDER by Steve Smith. Like Steve, I'm a tech geek who loves new apps and everything having to do with connecting that little mobile device to shoppers in-store. But like Steve's wife, I also find most of them absolutely useless when I'm shopping. (And as a wife, I get to do all the shopping.)
Interestingly, I have the CardStar app on my iPhone to store all of my loyalty cards... but most of the time it won't scan. In fact, when I pull it out at Dominicks the clerk simply shakes his head and says "Nope - never works." So I hand him my phone and he has to key in a ridiculously long number. #fail
I also use the new DealMatch and JustforU tools online at Dominicks. But they don't have an app. They don't even have a mobile wap site, so if I get to the store and have forgotten to "load" the deals onto my FreshValues card online at home, I have to go stand near the front door to get a good enough signal to load their full website.
Once I do get the site up, I have to zoom in and out of teeny images of the items I might want to buy, and my finger always hits "forgot my password" when I try to log in. #frustration
So here is a list of all the things I want Dominicks to put into a new app for me to use when shopping in their store.
1.) Microgeolocation. I want the app to know I am standing in produce, in front of the asparagus, and tell me not only how much it is, but also how much LESS it is because of the DealMatch and JustforU deal it will AUTOMATICALLY give me, just for standing in front of the product in their store. You know it's me - now just give me the deal without me having to click anything.
2.) Meal ideas. I want the app to suggest a meal for dinner based on other items I usually buy, or things on sale that week. But I want you to look at the shopping data you have from fifteen years of my scanning the card every time I shop to see that I have never bought sardines, so don't serve up the sardine and asparagus salad recipe.
3.) Special savings alerts. You know my shopping behavior, because you base the JustforU deals on things I usually buy, so if something I usually buy is on sale, give me a pop up alert when I get to that aisle. "Wow! Your favorite string cheese is on sale this week, Janet! Don't miss it!"
4.) Store-4-1-1 (Or let's call it "Store-1-1") Where in the hell is the pizza sauce, and why isn't it with the tomato sauce? When I can't find something, I want an easy way to type in the item and get an aisle number back. And since you know where I am standing (remember wish #1 above?) tell me how far away it is.
5.) Scanability. Sure, you should know who I am the minute I walk into lane 3 because of the microgeolocation. But if you haven't mastered that, at least have a scannable code so I can wave the app over the scanner and it works.
6.) Warnings! If I'm checking out and you see I have not bought any milk, and I never come in without buying 2 gallons, why not spit out a "Hey! Did you forget the milk?" message at the register. It would save me the aggravation of getting home and realizing I forgot it. It would also keep the sale at your store, because when I get home, I am not driving back over here. I buy it at the gas station and feel grumpy because I had to pay a dollar more. It ruins my day.
Sound too good to be true? Sounds pretty damn simple to me. I would even pay for an app like that.