The rise of mobile shopping has created a need for seamless user experiences across brands. The virtual shopping mall is going mobile, but still lacks the perfect browsing app.
Much of smartphone-based shopping has involved mobile websites or downloading an app. For customers who prefer mall-style shopping, browsing numerous brands within a single session, this can involve installing and opening several apps - not a practice that would lend itself to a seamless experience. But if an app came into prominence where customers could flip easily between brands, this could encourage engagement and purchasing among several storefronts. While Amazon and eBay apps enable shopping from various smaller merchants, the smartphone mall has not yet come into the spotlight with robust offerings from A-level brands. Saratoga, CA-based startup Tinyview describes itself as a mobile browser for shopping, though it is a standalone app for iOS.
A single app for multiple brands
So far the app supports over 30 brands, including Best Buy, American Airlines, Fandango and Papa Johns. Through Tinyview, the customer can browse and shop, as well as buy movie tickets and order pizza. Aiming to be the go-to app for mobile shopping, TinyView adds stores to its app without updates, making it as easy as possible for consumers - “they just show up in the app,” explains founder Raj Salwani. Search terms carry through favorite stores, and the checkout process is streamlined with auto-fill for passwords, credit cards and billing or shipping addresses. TinyView does not participate in mobile payments, though - the app helps the user fill out payment information, but purchases are processed by the retailer, Salwani tells us.
Big box stores are developing their own virtual shopping mall too
Tinyview is not the only offering in smartphone mall apps - Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target are creating Merchant Customer Exchange, a company that will develop a mobile app for most smartphones. The app will support coupons, rebates and loyalty programs, according to Delaware Online. Since the mobile payments industry is currently $60 billion and may reach $170 billion in 2016, brands will benefit from establishing a presence in multi-brand mobile app shopping now. As for TinyView, the mobile app wants to facilitate this commerce evolution between multiple brands and the smartphone user, charging fees to the retailer. The major challenge remains gathering enought brands to provide a complete shopping experience.