Mobile App Review: RedLaser
This is the third in a series of blog posts evaluating the user experience of some of the top 10 shopping apps as rated by this June 2012 Nielsen study . The first post took a look at Out of Milk Shopping List app and the second, the SavingStar Grocery eCoupons app.
We still have two more shopping aid apps to evaluate. Today we look at Red Laser. This app is available for iPhone, Android, and Windows Phones. It is primarily a tool that helps customers find the best price for products while shopping. Customers can search for prices using a variety of input methods, including scanning a barcode or QR code, entering product keywords, taking a photo of the product of interest, or speaking keywords into the phone:
Once the product is located, the app displays prices for online and local retailers when available, as well as product details, reviews, and suggested complementary products (below). If customers see a price they are willing to pay, they can even buy it without leaving the app:
Alternatively, if they are not ready to buy, items can be shared via email, text, or Facebook or added to a list for future reference.
Red Laser has many advantages:
- The variety of ways users can identify products is a huge benefit. Particularly the ability to take a photo of an item or speak it will help those who are less comfortable with barcode scanning, can’t find the bar code of a product while in a store, or do not want to type keywords in manually.
- The list functionality is a great complement to the scanning functionality as users can keep track of all the items they want to purchase while shopping. If you are buying for an event such as a move, or an occasion such as a holiday, this will make it easy to keep track of all the best prices for your items.
- Even for those who do not create a list, the History section will keep track of all of their recent searches, making it easy to re-visit information about products of interest.
- The ability to purchase items directly in the app greatly simplifies shopping and enables users to act on deals as soon as they are spotted.
Some opportunities for improvement and recommendations are:
- It would be great if users could filter and sort the online listings once products are located. Currently, products are sorted lowest to highest within results sets from sources such as Google. The ability to sort by price or alphabetically by source across results sets would help visitors identify particular retailers of interest and price ranges available. In addition, the ability to filter by price would help those on a budget determine if there is a retailer offering their product at their desired price point.
- Because product information is pulled from multiple sets of search results, there can be redundant listings. For example, Tech for Less appeared three times as a potential seller when searching for a Sony Wi-Fi Built-In Blu-Ray Player with two different prices shown: $85.97 and $101.97. When visitors click on the products, they would find the same underlying product page, however.
- More information should be provided about the Reviews for products. It’s not clear whether these are reviews from multiple sources—such as the retailers listed—or RedLaser users only. Messaging indicating where these reviews came from would resolve this issue. For example, reviews from RedLaser users. In addition, it would be helpful if reviews could be displayed for the item from the retailer or product manufacturer’s websites.
Overall, this app makes it easy to quickly find the best price and retailers for products of interest as well as keep track of multiple products while shopping.