Welcome to the latest installment of Flightpath’s running series of mobile app reviews, where we explore all different kinds of apps, both paid and free. Today we’re looking at an app that offers flash sales of designer and high-end products, often from smaller, lesser-known companies.
The App: Fab.com
The Platform: iPhone, iPad and Android
How Much: Free
The Deal: The Fab.com website launched in 2011 as an invite-only destination. Specializing in flash sales of designer products (think vintage-style maps, hand-crafted wood furniture, Japanese vinyl toys, etc.), the site has grown enormously, reaching 1 million members by November 2011.
Each day, Fab emails its members previews of items that will be for sale later on in that day’s featured deals, which usually run for one week or until items sell out. (I’ve actually bought a couple of maps from one designer. Trust me, they’re awesome.) Sometimes, however, I see items for sale but just forget, as often happens in this opened-an-email-then-got-distracted-by-something-else world we live in. Or I miss the sales altogether. So the idea of an app, where I could have quicker, constant access to Fab, is very appealing.
Features: The Fab.com app opens to the “Fab Home” menu tab, which hosts a New section (recently added items), Shops (Art, Bed & Bath, Books & Media, etc., which groups items by genre), and Ending (sales coming to a close). There’s also a Calendar tab, showcasing items and shops coming in the next week, an Invite tab, and a More tab, featuring your order history, shipping info, a contact form and more.
What We Think/Like: Fab is a essential app for those who are already fans of the website. The look and feel distinctly match the desktop version, which is very smart; it feels as if the app is in continuity with the Fab emails and site experience. The images look excellent, the design and layout are intuitive and visually striking, and it’s very easy to use. If you select an item on sale, the screen shifts to feature a large picture of the item with a corner tag saying how much it’s discounted, and the bottom of the screen features the price and a big “Buy Now!” button. What else do you need?
What’s Missing: As far as I can tell, there’s no way to select items – currently or soon-to-be available – and add them to some kind of reminder alert system. There is a shopping cart, but if I see something in the Calendar section that will be available in a week, I may (read: probably will) forget about it by then. If I could tag that item so that I’m alerted as to when it goes on sale, I’d be more likely to buy it. At the very least, I’d come back and use the app again. That said, you do get push notifications for when sales are about to begin and other alerts, so that functionality is kind of there.
Overall: Fab – both on its website and now successfully with its app – routinely highlights truly beautiful, unique, well-made products that you may never have heard of otherwise. The app does a great job at presenting everything in an easily navigable and browse-able package. If you aren’t a Fab member, become one; if you are, download this app.