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Best Buy loads mobile app with check-ins to drive loyalty

Best Buy has updated its mobile application with a new check-in feature that rewards loyalty members for shopping in-store regularly.

The big box retailer has revamped its iPhone and Android app to integrate more closely with its Reward Zone loyalty program. Additionally, the update also includes a new price-watching tool that lets consumers keep a closer eye on the prices of their favorite electronics.

“Most top retailers develop their standalone mobile apps to engage their loyal consumers anytime and anywhere,” said Cezar Kolodziej, president/CEO of Iris Mobile, Chicago.

“Adding a brand’s own check-in functionality to an already launched app completes the app functionality and does not disturb the experience going into a third-party app to complete check-in,” he said.

“Also, using a third party app is not free of charge. All of these factors probably drove Best Buy to add the check in functionality to their own app.”

Mr. Kolodziej is not affiliated with Best Buy. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Best Buy did not respond to press inquiries.

Checking in to mobile
Shoppers with a Reward Zone account can sync up their account with the app to manage their points, view their purchases and learn about the benefits that are associated with Reward Zone.

The new check-in feature enables an in-store mode to be displayed when consumers are within a geo-fenced area around a Best Buy location.

A section within the in-store mode gives consumers the option to check-in to a store to receive Reward Zone points.

When consumers click to check-in, a message pops up on the screen and gives app users 10 Reward Zone points.

Consumers can check-in to a location every 24 hours, but check-ins are limited to two times per week.

The retailer is promoting the new feature on the company’s Reward Zone Web site.

Best Buy’s new check-in feature points to a growing trend of retailers leveraging branded apps with sophisticated technology such as location and loyalty.

The retailer has banked on third-party check-ins for a while, and making the switch to an in-app component is the next logical step for the company.

Best Buy was one of the first retailers to partner with shopping companion app shopkick, for example (see story).

The new price watch app feature

Price comparison
Best Buy’s mobile app has also been updated with a price watch feature.

Consumers who are browsing through product pages will see two buttons at the bottom of the page. Shoppers can either select the item to watch the price on it or find the product at a nearby store.

Shoppers can then view the current price of the item and be notified when the product drops in price or reaches a specific dollar amount.

Best Buy has invested in mobile considerably over the years as a way to drive in-store traffic.

At the beginning of this year, Best Buy rolled out a deals iPad app where consumers could create a personalized shopping experience (see story).

Additionally, the retailer was the first to partner with eBay’s RedLaser app last year to geofence stores with targeted offers (see story).

Loyalty plays a key role in Best Buy’s mobile strategy, which is evident in the latest app update.

“Foursquare has had a great ride, but it is hardly a mass product with 30 million users worldwide,” said Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer of Mobivity, Phoenix.

“For perspective, there are more than 10 times that many mobile users in the United States alone,” he said.

“Best Buy is attempting to bring more value to its app by encouraging its shoppers to check in. If promoted, it should drive more app downloads and more usage. The check-in aspect in exchange for an offer encourages brick and mortar shopping.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York