I had an interesting conversation with an old friend the other day about why a brand would write a mobile app, when there are such dynamic possibilities available for Facebook apps.
Aside from the desire to get your brand out of the Facebook sandbox, I thought of a few things you could do with an app that might be a little harder when working through Facebook, even Facebook mobile - geo-tagging and phone calls among them.
Fortuitously, here's a roundup of 6 mobile apps that stand well on their own, both for usability and branding.
Here are six companies that use the mobile web smartly, creating an altogether different experience than traditional online by using the strengths that the mobile device has to offer. They have been separated into two categories, one for advocating user purchases and the other for overall content and efficiency.
Category 1: Purchase intensive
These web pages make the buying experience extremely straightforward.
Starbucks Coffee. The Seattle-based company has been one of the industry leaders in using mobile to spread its messages and promote its brand. While using geolocation sites like Foursquare and Facebook Places to reward customers who buy Starbucks products, the company' recently expanded the value of its app by allowing customers to pay for their drinks by waving their mobile phones over an in-store reader. By providing added convenience and utility to its mobile experience, Starbucks' mobile efforts are leading the pack, while making the case for a wallet-less future.
Dominoes Pizza. Of course ordering a pizza through a mobile phone should be a no-brainer. But Dominoes has gone beyond the simple store locator feature to simplify the ordering process to a few finger taps. Not only can customers save all their credit card information and track the progress of their pizza through their mobile app, but they can also receive personal SMS texts that offer special deals and promotions based on previous orders.
eBay. The popular online auction website is trying its hand at augmented reality, a term that will likely become part of the digital vernacular in the next few years. While its mobile web page is more or less an abbreviated version of its traditional website, eBay has relied heavily on apps to help optimize its presence within the mobile realm. By downloading the Junaio app along with the eBay app, customers can monitor their favorite eBay auctions in real time through their mobile phones. If you don't think that's cool, you might need to get your cool meter fixed.
For the other three, see the
iMedia Connection post.