Target and Toys R Us posted overall sales declines during the holidays.
A mobile app from Tecca, a company backed by Best Buy, aims to reduce the confusion shoppers face when researching consumer electronics. The retailer views the tool as a bridge between the web and stores, even though the app displays competitors' items.
Consumer electronics can easily baffle shoppers. They’re complex products that require at least a minimal degree of understanding that many consumers just don’t have.
Newly launched company Tecca aims to cut down on the confusion with a mobile commerce app. The Tecca mobile app combines comprehensive product information, pricing and the knowledge of in-house Tecca experts with a marketplace for shopping from online electronics retailers. Consumers can download the app for free in Apple Inc.’s App Store and the Google Android Market, with PC and mobile web sites and tablet apps set to launch later this fall.
The new company is the product of a digital media fund established by Best Buy Co. Inc., No. 10 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, and Fuse Capital, an investment and equity management firm that focuses on digital media and communications.
“The speed at which technology evolves affects everyone. We repeatedly hear that constant innovation is overwhelming for consumers who struggle to keep pace,” says Ross Levinsohn, chairman of Tecca and managing director at Fuse Capital. “Our goal with Tecca is simple: help inspire consumers to make confident decisions about personal technology and electronics.”
The app is designed to be used anywhere, anytime, but Best Buy, which operates an m-commerce site and mobile app of its own, joins a chorus of retailers singing the praises of mobile sites and apps being the ultimate multichannel tools, ones that consumers can use to make purchase decisions in stores.
“Thanks to smartphones, mobile tech and social commerce, consumers have more opportunities than ever to bridge their physical and digital shopping experiences,” says Christine Webster Moore, vice president of the new business customer solutions group at Best Buy. “Tecca offers the online electronics marketplace a fresh perspective, one that we think will help empower consumers as their lives become more connected.”
Tecca puts Best Buy in the position of funding a company that places Best Buy competitors’ offerings alongside those of Best Buy. Best Buy says Tecca is another part of its experimentation with mobile and other emerging technologies to see how they can help consumers and also develop business for Best Buy.
“Tecca is pulling in competitors, but this is in the spirit of helping consumers make more informed decisions,” a Best Buy spokeswoman says, noting that consumers already have multiple ways to shop for consumer electronics. “And it bridges the online world with physical stores.”
The first version of the Tecca app focuses on three themes. First is product discovery—the app enables shoppers to search and browse products or scan product bar codes. Second is product research—shoppers can explore customer reviews, image galleries and product specifications. And third is the product marketplace—consumers can compare prices and buy from an assortment of online merchants, including Best Buy.
The launch of the mobile app is the first step in the rollout, which will include a broader suite of services. Over time, the company says, Tecca will offer more features geared toward everyday personal technology wants and needs, and address the range of information covering the lifecycle of product ownership, including resale and recycling options for old or obsolete technology.