Shopping for apps is a different experience for everyone. Sometimes it can be easy — you know what you want right then and there, a couple of clicks and you’re done. But what if you don’t know exactly what you want, or you’re just window shopping? If this is you, you may have found that the majority of app stores don’t cater to casual shoppers such as yourself. As a frequent app buyer, I will share a few of my recent shopping experiences and how they have influenced the future design and functionality of the Firefox Marketplace.
Last month, I recall painstakingly shopping for the “ultimate” To-do app. I was surprised to find that not only are there tons to choose from, but several also came with high ratings. Because there was little to distinguish these top rated apps from one another, I was left with no other option than to download a few and discover for myself which one best suited my needs. Nothing like a little trial and error experiment when all I really wanted was a quick solution for tracking my Honey-Do list from the fiancé.
We all have our favorite bloggers, columns and influencers that we trust to lead us to next “big thing”. I kick my mornings off every day with a cup of coffee and reading the daily Verge. One feature I especially look forward to seeing is The Verge’s weekly “Best New App”. A couple of weeks ago a new weather app called “Haze” was profiled. After quickly reading the blog’s brief synopsis, I dashed off to the app store to see what all the fuss was about. As usual, The Verge did not steer me wrong; “Haze” not only looks great, but provides a new and unique way to view weather patterns. This “Influencer Experience” shows us the power of recommendation.
A couple of months ago I was browsing through the gaming category of an app store, searching for a game to please my wandering mind, and hopefully waste a few hours of time. Page after page nothing caught my eye. Then all of a sudden — like finding a five in your pocket — there it was: A Super Nintendo RPG port called “Chrono Trigger”. Besides being a RPG classic, the sight of the game brought me back to my childhood and I immediately felt an emotional connection to it. Would I expect a game that came out twenty years ago to be on top of the digital shelf? No, but I couldn’t help but wish I had known about this app earlier. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I found my little childhood treasure, but what if apps could find you?
Apps Finding You: The Feed
There will always be room for the in-and-out app shopper, but what if the casual shopper could have apps come to them? Not just any apps, but specific apps based on your interests. “Apps Finding You” is a major theme that the Marketplace team has been exploring. We have been thinking about how to serve the casual shopper with a smarter Marketplace discovery; one that presents you with the apps you want to see and the apps you didn’t even know existed. One of the many ideas the team has been exploring to implement this theme is a Marketplace feed. This feed would start out generic, but would quickly become customized based on the user’s interests. Users would not only be presented with apps, but also with app collections, featured apps, editorials, and third party recommendations — providing additional context to inform their purchases.
Feeds have been utilized for content consumption with apps like Zite and Flipboard, so why not utilize them for the app shopping experience? What we are talking about is simplifying the app discovery to be what you want it to be. Instead of presenting me with the entire store, I’m telling the Marketplace that I have a need to find my ultimate To-do app, or that I would love to see my favorite app reviewers give me their “in-store” recommendations, or yes, that I have desire to conquer every Super Nintendo game from my childhood on my smartphone. Hey, no judging — what would I find in your app feed?