App Deathmatch: The Club vs. Point Inside


Westlake Center

As a mall, I think the Westlake Center is pretty lame. If my comfort food were not served in the food court, I would have no business there. When I went there on Sunday, I came across an ad for the Westlake Center mobile app. I thought to myself, what does a lame mall like Westlake need with an app? I also thought, instead of building its own app, Westlake should have partnered with Point Inside and saved some money.

I texted ”App” to 50304 and received a response that linked me to a WAP page for more information and the app. As it turns out, the app was developed by General Growth Properties, the management company of Westlake. It covers all the malls in the US that are also managed by this company.

Downloading and installing the app was easy enough. When I fired it up, it did not know my location, so I attempted to look for Westlake using the search function, except it didn’t respond at all.

I then located Westlake by zooming in on the map. Once I had chosen the mall, the app asked me if I want to receive email notifications. It did not disclose what information it would be sending me. So, as a rule, I declined the offer.

The app shows six categories:

  1. In-store sales;
  2. Where to find food;
  3. Events at Westlake;
  4. Mall directory;
  5. About the Westlake Center (address and hours, etc.);
  6. Mall Map.

General Growth Properties did partner with Point Inside for the mall map, which piqued my interest in a side-by-side comparison of the two mall apps. The GGP app shall henceforth be referred to as “The Club”.

Both apps display the same in-store sales and mall events. The information on the mall itself is also comparable. But Point Inside does not carry the mall directory or a directory of the food vendors, either one of which is more important to me than the mall map.

One thing that really annoys me about The Club is that it asks if I want to receive email notifications every time I start the app or switch mall. I have a feeling that it won’t stop until I say yes or indicate that I am already a member. How hard is it to design an app that remembers the user’s one preference? Surely some people may want to know what is happening at the Westlake Center but not the Alderwood Mall. A better way to handle this is to give users a choice to opt in to all email notifications, notifications only about their preferred malls, or no notifications at all.

If you’re absentminded like me, you panic when you’re done shopping because you have no recollection of where you parked. Point Inside has a Car Finder feature, which is a nifty tool that leads you back to your car if and when it works. It disappointed me when I needed its assistance in Portland on March 6.

I don’t actually have any use for a mall app. But if I must choose between The Club and Point Inside, I’d pick the latter simply because I cannot be bothered to hunt down the management company or an app for every mall I visit. Keep in mind The Club is only good for malls that are managed by General Growth Properties, while Point Inside has information on malls and airports across North America as well as over 30 airports internationally.

At the end of the day, this is more of a turtle race than a deathmatch. Both apps are rough around the edges, and neither is exciting enough to make up for its shortcomings.


4 Responses to “App Deathmatch: The Club vs. Point Inside”

  1. Snowball Says:

    For a free app, points inside is adequate. Car locator and more importantly restroom locator work well.

  2. meggiebrown Says:

    This doesn’t sound too impressive to me. What caught me eye more than anything was the content hierarchy seems to be wrong. In thinking about what would be most useful and timely to a shopper, I would have suggested prioritizing it like so:

    1. Where am I (Location Based Service showing where I am at in the mall and where the other stores locations
    2. In-store sales: especially cool if they had flash sales to drive retail traffic
    3. Food Court
    4. Parking pin point
    5. Mall Info

    Was the app free?


  3. cocotsai Says:

    I believe the apps for mall should be useful if its design fulfills users’ needs. Take my personal experience, the issue I meet every time when I walk in a new mall is that I need to know the mall directory. It will be better if the app could indicate where am I and help me to use “search” function to find the stores I am interested in. Also, food court information is also important to me, and I believe a lot of people go to the mall because of the good food. So I feel pity this app can’t detect your location in the mall.

    Another question is that will the app know you are in different mall without turn it on? Just curious about how does the app know you have switched the mall but can’t detect your location in the beginning when you were in Westlake center?

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