Tag Archives: Nokia

Home Shopping Apps. HSN’s got the goods. Literally.

Home shopping on steroids!

I’m not an avid shopper.

Every once in a while, I’ll hit the store to pick up an item or two.

Most of my shopping is done online, and in response to a real need.

Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, etc., are when my shopping cap goes on, and I generally handle my business.

So shopping (outside of essentials) is never high on my list of priorities.

But that’s just me.

There’s a whole other world of shoppers, who take shopping very seriously: the home shopper.

If you’re into home shopping, then anytime is a good time to shop.

If there’s a bargain, you’re looking for it.

While shopping used to require getting into the car and heading to a mall, strip mall, flea market, or consignment store, the home shopper now has a number of different outlets for getting their shopping on (and I’m not talking catalogues either).

QVC, HSN and ShopNBC are probably some of the most well known brands in home shopping.

They’ve each got channels devoted entirely to giving shoppers steep discounts on everything from watches to sewing machines.

They also have websites, which allow visitors to browse items featured on the network, as well as other special offers.

But more importantly, each of them has a branded app, which allows you to shop directly from your iPhone, iPad or Android device, while you’re away from your television or home computer.

ShopNBC does the best job of promoting the fact that they’ve got apps.

ShopNBC does the best job of letting you know they've got apps.

The link to the iOS or Android version of their app is conspicuously located in the bottom left corner of the home page, alongside ShopNBC’s other social media links.

Although you’ve got to scroll to the bottom of the page to see this section, the iPhone and Android logos point to the fact that they’ve got apps.

And while they don’t promote the fact that they’ve got a mobile version of their site too, they do.

HSN’s apps are promoted in a similar fashion as ShopNBC, but not quite as well.

Although it's not explicit, HSN lets you know they've got something for mobile.

The mobile phone logo, appears in a banner below the fold of the page, under the title “HSN Everywhere”.

But where HSN falls short in the visual promotion, it more than makes up for it with the breadth and depth of it’s mobile app offering.

HSN has apps for the iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Nokia, Windows Mobile 7 and offers a mobile web version of their site and an SMS service.

QVC does the worst job of promoting the fact that it’s got a mobile offering.

C'mon QVC! You've got to do better than this! Site map, really?

The link to their mobile app is buried in the site map, located at the bottom of the home page, with no icons and even less fanfare.

QVC only offers an iPhone version of their app, and they don’t have a mobile site at all.

I took each of the apps for a test drive to see how well they were built.

I didn’t buy anything mind you, but I did check out what they had to offer.

As expected, each of the apps let you to make in-app purchases.

They also have a ‘watch now’ or ‘live’ feature that lets you to follow along with the network programming directly from your device.

There is a short time delay between the live show and the mobile version, but it’s not material.

But there are material differences in how the live viewing options work on the respective apps.

HSN does the best job for a few reasons, including the fact that it utilizes the accelerometer of the iOS devices, allowing you to watch in both landscape and portrait modes.

HSN's app is the hands down fave!

The menus and content streams, that frame the viewing area, adjust, letting you expand or collapse the screen to watch in full screen/partial screen mode.

While HSN gives you multiple viewing options, ShopNBC’s live viewing is only viewable in full screen landscape mode.

And unlike the HSN app, you’ve got to quit the video, in order to interact with any other content on their app.

QVC’s iPhone app works similarly to HSN’s and is viewable in both landscape or portrait mode.

In landscape mode, the dash slides away letting you watch full screen.

Sorry QVC, but watching TV on the iPhone simply isn't the move. Make an iPad app!

But after experiencing HSN and ShopNBC’s apps in the larger form factor of the iPad, watching QVC’s show on the iPhone was markedly underwhelming.

Each of these apps had their pluses. But hands down, HSN is clearly the most progressive and forward thinking of these home shopping networks.

They have the most comprehensive suite of options for accessing their brand.

Notwithstanding my critiques, each of these brands are clearly thinking about how to help shoppers get the most out of their connected devices.

And at the end of the day, if you’re a ‘shoppy’, you should be over the moon!

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Filed under apps, branding, iPad, iPhone, mobile, opinion, technology

10 Billion App Downloads and You DON’T Need One?

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard the recent announcement by Apple that they’ve just eclipsed 10 billion app downloads in¬†the Apple App Store.

Starting from the release of the iPhone in 2007, the Apple App Store passed the 1 billion download mark in April of 2009, after opening in July of 2008. That’s a ridiculous pace by any standard.

Tap Tap Revenge is one of the more popular iTunes Apps

Even though much of this traffic was driven by highly popular titles like Tap Tap Revenge and Angry Birds, the reality is that apps have captivated much of the public’s attention, and are as common as the devices upon which they are deployed.

If you’re not an Apple-o-phile, you’ll still be impressed by the estimated 2.8 billion Android apps that have been downloaded to date.

Android is making a strong showing in the app space as well.

What does this all mean?

It means that people find great utility in their mobile devices and much of that utility has been driven by apps.

It also means that apps are a useful tool for brands interested in providing utility to their audiences, in what is becoming an increasingly traditional methodology.

Own a brick-and-mortar establishment? You should have an app that at a minimum, provides turn-by-turn directions to your door. Sure, they can go to GoogleMaps and find you, but why give Google those metrics? Why force your potential customer to take that extra step?

Are you an artist? Your app should stream your music (or at least snippets), provide access to your music video, pictures, show dates and special event, like listening parties or release dates. If you’re interested in making money, your app should direct users to your mobile-based store front allowing purchases downloaded directly to their device.

Maybe you’ve got a service-based business. Your app can simply be an abridged version of your website, providing one-click access to your phone, email or full mobile site. You can also use push notifications to send out blog posts, where you showcase your service-specific knowledge and expertise.

Five years ago, when I was working with The Marksmen and we were introducing DOT.TUNES, the first iPhone app which allowed users to remote access their entire iTunes library from any device capable of an internet connections, we realized that we had an uphill battle, as smart phones (and the concept of ‘apps’) were still very niche.

I acknowledge that we were ahead of our time (DT was released prior to the availability of Apple’s software developer’s kit) and were definitely on the leading edge of the entire app movement, but even then we realized that apps were how mobile users would access and consume content.

Mobile phones, including smart phones, would invariably have memory and processing constraints, and apps offered a simple way of providing one-click access to great utility, without compromising memory or processing speeds.

Fast forward five years, and Google, Nokia, Samsung, Blackberry, Palm, Windows all have their own apps, and are all seeking to replicate Apple’s success.

Big brands like Hyundai, Pepsi, Old Navy, Walmart, all have apps. And smaller brands are starting to embrace apps as well. WeHarlem’s app, provides a social media app developed specifically for Harlemites. There’s even a Dutch municipality which allows users to file complaints via an iPhone app.

IMO, if you’re a brand looking to forge deeper connections with your core audience, penetrate the market, provide greater utility to your current customers, or simply take advantage of the numerous opportunities that mobile applications provide, developing an app for your brand is a wise investment.

If you’re interested in learning more about mobile applications, and how they can help your brand, feel free to shoot me an email or give me a call.

I’d love to hear from you!

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Filed under branding, technology