August 25, 2010, 11:34 AM

Two Canadian retailers go mobile with shopping apps

Best Buy Canada Ltd. and its Future Shop division both go live with commerce-enabled apps.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Lead Photo

Two Canadian electronics retailers owned by Best Buy Co. Inc. —Best Buy Canada Ltd. and Future Shop—this week launched shopping apps for Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPod touch devices.

The apps, both developed by Vancouver-based Atimi Software Inc., enable shoppers to browse, search and buy. Both also feature customer ratings and reviews, social sharing via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter, access to sale items and the ability to save favorite products to view later.

The apps also provide access to default payment, shipping and billing information, enabling registered consumers to check out quickly, and a store locator which uses GPS  technology to locate stores close to a shopper. Both apps also offer barcode scanning capabilities.

Additionally, the Future Shop app gives consumers’ access to the retailer’s Tech Blog and Brand Talk community forums.

"Users of the Future Shop app will be thoroughly impressed with the functionality and ease of use, especially at checkout," says Todd Empey, vice president of store operations, Future Shop. "This is the first iteration of our app, and you can count on us to add new or enhanced features as time goes on. Be on the lookout for versions of our app being offered on other smartphone platforms."

Best Buy Canada operates more than 60 stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Future Shop operates 145 stores across Canada.

As of the first quarter of 2010, one quarter of Canadian mobile subscribers used the mobile Internet, a total of 4.8 million unique Canadian mobile Internet users, according to the Nielsen Co. Canadians spend an average of 8.3 minutes per month on the mobile Internet and the the top mobile devices in Canada are the Apple iPhone 3GS, Apple iPhone 3G and the Blackberry 8100 series.

Best Buy is betting big on mobile as of late. Earlier this month the retailer began using location-based mobile technology from vendor shopkick to present special offers and rewards on consumers’ smartphones when they are close to a store. Best Buy will bring the mobile app rewards system to 187 U.S. stores at first and will roll it out to an additional 70 stores by October, the retailer says., the retailer’s U.S. e-commerce site, ranks No. 10 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.


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