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Retail apps – novelties or useful?

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I am the first to admit that I love tech – my iPhone has enabled me to take this to ‘new levels’ much to my wife’s amusement (or bemusement – not sure which).

Most of our large supermarkets and stores now offer apps for the most popular operating systems (iOS and Android), and most offer the ability to order through them. But is this really necessary, and are there better options for your phone!

As I blogged earlier this week, we ordered through Ocado last week (and very succesful it was too) – but we did this on the home pc, even though there is an Ocado app available. I have also this week had to hunt out a new shaver – my old one is dying, and as I am not taking part in Movember like some of my colleagues, I thought I should replace it before it dies. This then raised the question – how to find the best price?

I knew it was going to be a Braun, so initially I trawled the web on my PC, looking at the supermarket, electrical and similar sites – this took me maybe 30 minutes and I thought provided me with the best deal – Boots at £75. So off I went to Boots to have a look, but then I had a thought. Some time ago I downloaded the app RedLaser, this allows you to scan a product and it searches the web for the best deal (I have used it on ink cartridges before with some success). So I had a quick scan of the bar code on the box to check I was getting the best price (I thought it should be as it was 50% off) – but no; RedLaser gave me Debenhams at £67.50, with free delivery as well – result!

So perhaps the best use of the mobile web in retail terms is to price match, rather than to just make things easier for the supermarkets by giving them all your buying habits through their apps?

Sadly I do have to admit to having downloaded the Debenhams app to order the item – well it is fun isn’t it?