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The Battle for Mobile Shopping Supremacy: Target's In a Snap vs. Amazon's Firefly

Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

July 23, 2014

The Battle for Mobile Shopping Supremacy: Target's In a Snap vs. Amazon's Firefly

By Ben Linton
Contributing Writer

Target (News - Alert) is releasing a new mobile-shopping application called In a Snap, which allows you to shop for items from magazines and print ads without having to scan barcodes or look up links for any Target product. The image-recognition app is compatible with any iPhone (News - Alert), iPad or iPod Touch, and allows you to scan select ads, choose your favorite items, and make quick purchases without ever entering the store. You can also save products to purchase at a later date if necessary.

In a Snap could prove to be useful when flipping through daily print advertisements or while searching for back-to-school necessities. The app is actually highlighted as part of Target's college campaign, which provides an easy experience for students looking to decorate their dorms with reasonably priced furniture, bedding, and other accessories. In a Snap is also compatible with Target's back-to-college catalog, as well as store signage in the new Target Express opening this week in Minneapolis.

Built by Target's Rapid Acceleration Development (RAD) technology team, In a Snap is the latest example of the company's "test-and-learn" approach to building omnichannel capabilities for digital shoppers, according to In a Snap is currently available to download for free at the Apple (News - Alert) iTunes Store.

A similar feature is available on Amazon's new Fire Phone called the Firefly tool. The app allows you to scan an item by pointing your device at any retail products, books, movies or music, and provides you with links to purchase the item on Amazon. The Firefly app also includes in-depth information about the item from Wikipedia, as well as the ability to link with other third-party apps such as iHeartRadio or StubHub. This feature lies at the core of Amazon's new phone by providing a handheld device that allows you to complete price comparisons, contextual searches and checkouts all in one.

However, both apps have shortcomings and are still works in progress. Firefly ID works exclusively on Amazon’s smartphone and Target's In a Snap helps only with its own home essentials products. It seems as if Amazon is attempting to compete with the iPhone and Galaxy with the Fire Phone (News - Alert), or at least trying to direct more traffic and purchases to Amazon. In a Snap is a mobile shopping app that hopes to compete with Firefly and to facilitate mobile purchases at Target. It will be fascinating to see which method customers prefer and which application will emerge victorious. 

Edited by Alisen Downey

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