Top mobile apps for Black Friday 2011

Brands and marketers are taking note that mobile is a key ingredient in driving in-store traffic and retail sales. It is no surprise that companies are building apps specifically for Black Friday to provide consumers with another purchasing medium.

Here are some examples of notable apps created specifically for Black Friday.

Walgreens is bringing mobile coupons to smartphone users beginning the day after Thanksgiving as it looks to enhance the shopping experience via its mobile apps.

Walgreens is adding mobile coupons that can be scanned at point-of-sale to its existing mobile applications. The coupons, which will be available from Nov. 25 to Dec. 24, will range in value from 50 cents to $5 and will be good toward a variety of products including beauty items, gifts, consumables and diapers.

sign up now!

The app will be an essential tool for users for Black Friday because not only will they be looking for coupons, but they can redeem them at the point-of-sale via the app.

Mobile coupons are on the rise and the app takes advantage of that.

During Black Friday, consumers are already looking for deals so an app that features an added incentive is great during the holiday season.

“This is another way in which we’re enhancing our mobile apps and creating greater value for our mobile customers who use the app,” said Rich Lesperance, director of marketing for ecommerce at Walgreens, Deerfield, IL.

“Today’s consumers are seeking value and convenience, and we’re entering the peak holiday shopping season,” he said.

“This feature makes it easier for our mobile users to redeem coupons – because there’s no clipping or printing required — it’s as easy as downloading the app, and you’re ready to shop and save. And this now enables our mobile customers to use the app in our stores.”

Choose your gift card’s design

Home goods retailer Williams-Sonoma has rolled out mobile gift cards in time for the holiday shopping season.

Using CashStar’s mobile Web digital gifting platform, Williams-Sonoma’s customers can be the first to purchase and send mobile gift cards directly from their smartphones. Additionally, the service gives the retailer an easy way to track the sales made with the gift card.

The CashStar app helps eliminate shoppers’ hassle of carrying and finding loyalty, rewards as well as club membership cards.

Consumers are sometimes overwhelmed with the amount of loyalty cards they have in their wallet, so the ability to store it digitally on their mobile device is ideal.

“Consumers of Williams-Sonoma will now be able to easily shop from their mobile devices,” said David Stone, cofounder/CEO of CashStar, Portland, ME. “The high-quality shopping experience that customers have come to expect is now optimized and delivered when purchasing personalized, easy to use gift cards.

“This holiday season, consumers can now easily shop for an egift card on their smartphones,” he said. “Williams-Sonoma and CashStar have made this important program work beautifully on smartphones as part of the mobile gift card solution.”

The Snap Appy iPhone app

Specialty retailer Old Navy is upping its mobile efforts with an iPhone application designed to increase holiday sales and let consumers know about new products.

The Snap Appy app lets consumers scan products in-store to unlock season-themed surprises and rewards while shopping. Additionally, the app connects to the retailer’s mobile-optimized Web site to let users shop from home.

During Black Friday, consumers are on the prowl, but are looking more for big deals and rewards rather than a product they need.

Using the mobile app, consumers can scan products to know only learn more about it, but to redeem rewards as well.

“As our marketing evolves, we’re focused on innovating and looking for culturally relevant ways to better engage our target customer, and best serve who she is today,” said Deborah Yeh, vice president of marketing at Old Navy, San Francisco.

“Old Navy’s new mobile app, Snap Appy, addresses our customers’ desire to have a shopping tool for their mobile-based lifestyles,” she said.

The TapBuy deals app

Target, Gap and Old Navy are among the retailers whose discounted merchandise can be found and purchased via the new mobile shopping app TapBuy Deals.

TapBuy Deals lets consumers shop sale items from retailers, local offers from deal sites such as Groupon and also finds discount codes to apply to purchases. The app uses a streamlined checkout process so that users can complete their purchases with just a few taps.

Many apps currently out in the app stores help users find deals online.

However, navigating checkout screens to buy items is a hassle for consumers using their smartphones.

The TapBuy app lets customers buy products quickly when they enter their billing and shipping information, something that will prove to be useful during Black Friday.

“In mobile commerce, one of the biggest problems is that it is really hard to buy – the failure rate is like 80 percent,” said Blake Scholl, CEO of Kima Labs, San Francisco.

“TapBuy is the first mobile shopping app that has a checkout built-in that is really fast and easy to use,” he said.

“The ability to buy on the go is big — that’s a big differentiator.” Friday apps roundup

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Macy’s takes Thanksgiving Day parade mobile By Lauren Johnson

Macy’s is letting consumers follow and interact with this year’s Thanksgiving Day parade through an application for iPhone and Android devices.

The app lets spectators of the parade track the route and find out additional information. The app is powered by location-and-social app company MyCityWay.

“The 85th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and events like it are traditionally experienced by spectators in person and on television,” said Sonpreet Bhatia, cofounder of MyCityWay, New York.


“With this app, you can now experience traditional events in a whole new way, and spectators will have essential information all in one place in an app on their smartphone,” she said.

Find my way
The branded app has the Macy’s logo splashed across the top of each page.

Using the app, users can track specific parts of the parade, including marching bands, Santa and dance teams.

To track the parade, users need to register for an account with the program Clingle inside the app and then download the app on Thanksgiving Day to follow the parade route.

Parade attendees can also view a map of the parade with directions and tourist information.

Additionally, consumers can also get a sneak peek at the parade’s floats and balloons.

Users can learn about the parade and which celebrities and music artists will be participating.

On the day of the parade, consumers can view an exclusive digital version of the parade’s Line of March that will be released at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

At the top of the app, consumers can tap on a banner advertisement to shop from the parade’s line of memorabilia.

Users can buy items directly from inside the app and add items to their Macy’s shopping bag.

The app also features streaming video from locations around the parade route for consumers who want to watch the parade while on the go.

The Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade has a partnership with broadcast network NBC, and inside the app users can learn more about the other programs that NBC will be airing on Thanksgiving.

The app also uses a consumer’s GPS to find nearby stores, restaurants, subway stops and the local weather.

Branding machine
In addition to the app, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade features are also available on a microsite from Macy’s.

The Thanksgiving app builds on Macy’s extensive mobile history, which includes apps, a mobile-optimized Web site mobile advertising and QR codes.

Most recently, Macy’s used a holiday-themed app with augmented reality to  promote its annual partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation (see story).

By putting its brand at the front and center of the app, Macy’s is able to tap into savvy consumers to interact with its historic event.

By using live streaming, photos and video, it also lets consumers who are both at the parade and at home interact with the parade.

“Macy’s created a beloved American tradition with the launch of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York in 1924,” Ms. Bhatia said.

“With a steadily growing audience along the parade route and on TV, a mobile app brings a whole new level of engagement and promotion to the parade and can tap into the growing population that uses smartphones,” she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York

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