Buying stuff via your iPhone just got a whole lot more store-specific.
When the Target department store chain discovered that most of the traffic to their mobile site was from House of Jobs handsets, they decided to create a no-cost, Target-specific shopping app: the Target Snow Globe. Shake your iPhone the same way you'd shake an "analog" snow globe, but when the digital snow settles, what's revealed is a gift idea from the retailer. Users can then tap through to visit Target's site and buy the
item or find a store nearby.
Frisco-based AKQA had previously coded a similar app for the Gap: Merry Mix allows users to mix and match Gap apparel, then use the iPhone's location
technology to find the nearest brick-and-morter Gap outlet. But the Target Snow Globe goes one step further with its buy-it-online feature.
AKQA themselves dub the app "utilitainment," meaning that it's useful and fun in equal doses. But, cautions Tina Unterlaender, management supervisor at AKQA's
mobile division, "I don't think every brand should have an iPhone app. It should only be made if it fits your goal. For some brands it
doesn't make sense."
Thank God for that — imagine, say, a Pizza Hut app that randomly selects toppings with each shake (bacon, pineapple, and jalapenos, anyone?)
On the other hand, a Victoria's Secret mix and match lingerie app…that would work.