11 Mobile Shopping Apps Making Waves — and Lots of Money

By September 3, 2012

Name a product or brand with a mobile shopping app that’s caught your eye. What about it makes it special or useful?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.

1. Amazon Windowshop

Amazon has a shopping app for iPads to utilize its widescreen. When tilted horizontally, you can browse by category and scroll across the screen to view various items. You can also scan barcodes for price comparison — as with their mobile app — to shop around at different sites and see how Amazon’s prices compare to other sellers.
Lane Sutton, Social Media from a Teen

2. Look at Lancôme

Lancôme’s app in the iPhone App Store is all about virtual makeup application. Consumers can “try on” different products, and save and share makeup looks with friends. It’s a cool app for consumers that singlehandedly promotes this beauty brand in a fun and engaging way!
Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

3. Fab.com Figured It Out

Fab.com has an incredible mobile experience. Their core competencies are beautiful design and social shopping — both of which shine in their mobile app. They feature big, bold photography, which does their amazing selection justice. Beyond the pure aesthetic components, they truly nailed the user interaction by making everything super intuitive.
Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

4. Zoom Into Zappos

Zappos’ mobile app has an extremely intuitive UX and makes finding the item and purchasing it super simple. It also syncs your shopping cart to your account so that you can stick something in it and then buy later, when you’re on the full site.
David Cohen, Round Table Companies

5. Staples Sells on Mobile

The one I use the most is the Staples app, which lets me reorder office supplies from my virtual supply closet. I can find the nearest retail location to take advantage of an in-store deal, and I can view their weekly ads and coupons from my smartphone.
Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

6. Karma Commodified Gifting

This mobile gifting app is one to watch, as it was acquired by Facebook recently. The social graph integration is unmatched and illustrates what’s possible. For instance, users can open the application and see which of their friends are having tough days through sentiment analysis, and send them a gift. Many believe that Facebook will roll out Karma underneath where it shows upcoming birthdays.
Jason Mitchell, Movement Strategy

7. Gilt Does Mobile Right

Flash-fashion brand giant Gilt Groupe helped establish and create the online flash sale market. They’ve been able to take their business model to the third screen by thinking mobile from the beginning of the user experience. Mobile receives custom sales, preview sales and special consumer access. By integrating mobile into the brand DNA, they’ve been able to truly ‘mobilize’ their consumer base.
Alex Frias, Track Marketing Group

8. Shazam Is Sneaky!

Shazam is a sneaky mobile shopping application. It’s so useful because it helps me discover music that I normally wouldn’t buy (because I’m listening to it on the radio, and never know what the song is). And once I figure out what song it was, I just buy it on the spot!
Abby Ross, Blueye Creative

9. Check Out Chipotle

Who says choosing what’s in your burrito doesn’t make for a fun shopping experience? Chipotle’s mobile app has always been a favorite of mine, since I get to order my lunch in advance and avoid the long lines. When I get there, I simply pick up the food that I customized in the app minutes earlier.
Logan Lenz, Endagon

10. A+ for American Airlines

Years ago, I created the Admirals Club Facebook fan page for American Airlines (AA). Their marketing department took it over and has continue to be progressive with their media frontiers. The AA mobile app makes it so easy to book flights, check rewards points, and organize all upcoming trips. I give the AA app an A+!
Nancy T. Nguyen, Sweet T

11. Cheers to Wine.com

Wine.com has a beautiful iPad app where you can scroll through wines with a cover flow-like presentation. There are also lots of great filters, which makes it easy and fun to find the wine you are looking for while on the go.
Josh Weiss, Bluegala

The Young Entrepreneur Council

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.