Target is seriously revamping its mobile apps in time for the peak of the holiday shopping season. I may have been a bit harsh on its couponing app Cartwheel on Friday but today it’s time to praise the update to its flagship mobile app for a great new feature: the in-store map.
My guess is that the new app hasn’t rolled out to Android yet because I cannot see that feature, but TechCrunch reports that through a partnership with Point Inside users will be able to map a route to the product they’re looking for. This is a step up from the current implementation, where Target provides a specific aisle and inventory verification for products. Even that is a step above many big box retailers who send shoppers to find their own way in a store, with the help of a few signs. (Note: maybe this is, or was, a strategy to get shoppers to browse more and maybe find more products to buy. Costco certainly likes this approach, calling it a treasure hunt, with “specials on exotic cheeses, Coach bags, plasma screen televisions, Waterford crystal, French wine and $5,000 necklaces – scattered among staples like toilet paper by the case and institutional-size jars of mayonnaise.”)
Aside from the in-store route guide, the new app will also offer specific maps, such as an upcoming guide to Black Friday deals. This may help prevent the customary early-morning stampede as customers rush in looking for the advertised deals.
One interesting new feature will be lists and I’m curious whether Target will match that with the new map functionalities. It would be incredible if Target created a custom route, based on a personal shopping list and that particular store, to help shoppers navigate the aisles more efficiently while still having time to browse.
That said, both Target and Walmart currently offer a “pick up in store” option for items selected on their web sites. Walmart even claims to have the products ready for pick up in 4 hours on average. It seems like the fastest way to get in and out of a big box store (without even entering the aisles!) but it still requires work online putting together a purchase. Yet, is seems like the most optimal way to get through a list as opposed to picking items up one by one.
All in all, it’s exciting to see what the bigger retailers are coming up with, especially those with hard-to-find sales reps on the floor. Helping customers find the products they need more efficiently is a great feature.
Now, can I just have a price scanner on my phone without having to search the store for one, that would be amazing.