I’ve been going to the Eaton Centre ever since I was in elementary school, so you could say I’m pretty much an Eaton Centre vet, but with new stores popping up every few months and huge structural changes, like the new food court, it’s easy to get lost, miss out on a promotion or even your favourite store. I reviewed mall apps by Scarborough Town Centre, the Eaton Centre, Yorkdale mall and Square One to answer the big question that I’m sure all of you are wondering – are mall apps really necessary?
Scarborough Town Centre
Layout: The overall layout is simple and easy to use, with a main ‘Welcome’ page and a bottom menu bar that stays constant.
Features: Store Promotions, Where Am I?, Movie Listing, STC Hours, STC Contest, Store Directory, STC Style, Social Media, Employment information, Childcare Service information, Gift Card Balance, Contact
Positives: The STC Style feature allows you to take photos of things you’ve bought at the mall or items you’ve found at the mall and loved. These photos get uploaded for everyone that has the app to see and they’re able to share it or ‘love it’. The map feature allows you to drop a pin on the store you’re looking for and directs you to the closest parking lot for easy access. You’re able to check your gift card balance and purchase movie tickets on the app as well.
Negatives: Whereas all of the other mall apps had separate tabs for their food court and dining, the STC app combines the stores and food court restaurants into one tab.
Platform: Apple and Blackberry
Layout: The Yorkdale app is simple and easy to navigate, with a similar look to STC’s app.
Features: Promotions, Where Am I?, Movies, Hours, Parking/Valet, Store Directory, Social Media, Gift Card Balance, Contact, Fashion, Contests, Dine on 3
Positives: The Dine on 3 feature allows you to scope out all of the restaurants available in the mall, reserve a table in the food court and will suggest where you should eat based on your cravings. If you’ve ever been to Yorkdale, you’ll know how hard finding parking can be. The Parking/Valet feature is especially handy because it tells you how many parking spots are available and is updated every 15 minutes. There’s a map included in the feature that shows you which parking areas will be the easiest to find spots in by colour. Their Movies feature also allows you to purchase tickets right off you phone.
Negatives: There’s a Fashion feature in the app that is meant to be a lookbook highlight the amazing products found at the mall, however, it’s not active at this time. This feature is pretty much useless unless you’re just looking for a photo of Coco Rocha to stare at. There’s also no employment information.
Platform: iPhone, Android and Blackberry
The Eaton Centre
Layout: Simple and colourful layout that’s easy to navigate.
Features: Store Promotions, Urban Eatery, Mall Events, Hours, Directory, Dining, Social Media, Gift Card Balance, Contact, Fashion, Contests, Guest Services, Transit
Positives: The Urban Eatery feature is similar to Yorkdale’s Dine on 3 as it will suggest restaurants based on what you’re craving. It also gives you a list of the restaurants that cater. The Mall Events feature is a great way to keep in the loop of all the exciting things happening at the Eaton Centre, like skyping with Santa!
Negatives: Many of the links such as Transit, retail jobs and the gift card features just take you directly to the Eaton Centre’s website, which isn’t horrible except for the fact that some of the pages aren’t adapted to mobile, so they don’t fit in the screen. The Transit feature just takes you directly to the TTC website, so there aren’t specific directions on how to get to the Eaton Centre from where you are.
Platform: iPhone, Android and Blackberry
Layout: The Square One app is super modern and clean. It features rotating images on the homepage and a live Facebook feed. There’s a sidebar menu that you can hide or have open that has all of the features on it.
Features: Stores, Dining, Food Central, Promos, What’s New, Map, Hours, Social, Employment, Movies, Notices, Directions, Contests
Positives: Like their website, Square One has a huge list of promotions that comes in super handy when you’re navigating around the huge mall. The Map feature can actually map out a route for you to get store to store which the other mall apps don’t have. You can purchase movie tickets directly on the app. Square One is also more active on social media outlets with links to their Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Polyvore.
Negatives: This app might be hard to navigate if you’re new to the smart phone world.
Platform: iPhone and Android
Overall, I think malls having apps is a great thing, especially if you’re new to the mall or town. It’s a great way to find exactly what you want or shop special deals & promotions. On all of the mall apps, you’re able to bookmark your favourite stores and get notifications when they’re having special sales. I think Square One definitely wins the mall app challenge, killing it aesthetically and technically. Which app is your favourite?