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Best Buy joins mobile shopping bandwagon

That is the case with electronics retail powerhouse Best Buy, which has quietly launched a new iPhone application available now for iPhone and iPod touch. Created by Slifter, the application, “Best Buy Gamers Club,” was released June 25 without much formal to-do.

“I think in general retailers look at mobile devices as a great way to provide value and communicate with people who are on the go,” said Alex Muller, CEO of Slifter, New York.

“Everyone has a mobile phone these days and so for a brand it is a powerful tool to help consumers with their shopping needs,” Mr. Muller said.

Slifter is a mobile and Web-based application that lets users search, locate and share products at different retail locations on the Web or on their phones.

The free application gives users access to special offers and discounts, unique gaming content and all the latest news about upcoming games for any platform.

Consumers will certainly feel as if they have Best Buy in the Palm of their hands when using this application.

Users are able to view product reviews right within the application, so it serves as a shopping assistant to those consumers that are in store and need information.

Not only are users able to get product information, but they can even search for the nearest Best Buy stores that have the product, since the application leverages the iPhone’s GPS capabilities.

Other features of the application include weekly deals, a personalized shopping list and Blue Shirt Picks, which are Best Buy staff favorites.

This new mobile application is not Best Buy’s first foray into mobile.

Best Buy is currently running mobile advertising within the brand new application for the iPhone and iPod touch.

The advertising encourages app users to click to get the deal of the day or be linked to Best Buy’s Twitter feed (see story).

Best Buy also ran branding-purposed mobile campaigns within Pandora’s iPhone application when it first launched.

When a user clicked on the application’s icon from their iPhone, they were routed to a welcome screen with the advertiser’s logo. Also, the logo was on the bottom of the screen for all other pages as well (see story).

“I think at a high level, every bricks-and-mortar retailer is aiming to ultimately drive in-store sales,” Mr. Muller said. “Retailers are able to communicate special in-store events, offers and what is and is not in stock right to the consumers’ hands.

“The mobile channel is a great way to get local consumers aware about what you are doing,” he said. “We view the mobile phone as the centric device that has power of location and to connect retailers with the shopper.

“Mobile makes it very easy to facilitate loyalty, commerce and to give consumers access to a brand and its products and services right into the palm of their hands, whenever and wherever they may be.”