Do you like to browse retailers’ websites on your phone whenever you have a couple minutes to kill? Or are you an always-on-the-go shopper who can’t remember the last time you didn’t use your iPhone to make a purchase? Either way, CoffeeTable can make your mobile shopping experience better.
A little like having a personal shopper, CoffeeTable features more than 150 digital catalogs from well-known and well-loved brands, including Athleta, Eddie Bauer, Crate and Barrel, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Heifer and many others — all categorized and ready for you to easily save, share or purchase products from. Click “more” to see how it works.
When you launch CoffeeTable and sign in (via Facebook; or you can create a CoffeeTable account), you’ll immediately see a grid of featured catalogs from quality, well-loved brands. Note that if you set your phone down and leave this screen just as it is, after several seconds the app will start to slowly scroll down the catalog covers for you.
At any time you can select the list icon in the upper left to navigating to a particular category, such as Gifts and Gadgets, Health and Beauty, Home and Garden, Kids, Men’s Apparel and Accessories, Food and Wine, and others.
One of the categories you can navigate to is MyCoffeeTable, which is where all your favorite products, pages and catalogs are saved. To save a catalog, click on its title at the top of the screen, and then on the dog-ear icon. To save a page or a product, simply click the dog-ear button while you’re viewing that page or product.
After selecting a catalog you’d like to browse, swipe your finger to the left to keep flipping through the pages. When you come to a page featuring a product you’d like to learn more about, tap the dress symbol in the bottom right. This will call up information for every product featured on that page, as well as the prices and how many “loves” each product has received. There’s also a button for refreshing the page — useful if you want to be sure you’re seeing the most current pricing and availability for a given item.
From here, tap on the item you’re interested in for more details, including the product description, as well as to place the item in your shopping cart if you decide you’d like to buy it. At the top of the screen you have still more options: You can close out of the item, refresh the page, “love” the product, share it via email or Twitter, and save the product to MyCoffeeTable.
Note that when you choose to view an item, CoffeeTable displays the item in-app on that specific brand or retailer’s website. This is so all product prices and availability are displayed in real time and reflect the brand/retailer’s most up-to-date pricing and inventory.
Some catalogs make it possible for you to purchase items through the brand/retailer’s website, while others use a more integrated method called Express Checkout, which allows you to purchase items with minimal clicks.
In addition to convenience, CoffeeTable brings private sales, giveaways and other seasonal offers straight to users. Check these out by selecting Deals and Sweepstakes from the Categories list. (You can also view these on the CoffeeTable website at any time.)
This app is off to a great start. It boasts a large number of catalogs to browse, plus a healthy level of variety as far as different categories are concerned. The ability to save your favorite catalogs to MyCoffeeTable is both genius and necessary, since it allows you to return to your favorite brands or retailers on subsequent uses of the app, without having to wade through catalogs for brands you care about less.
In the future I’d like to see the ability to turn the app sideways to allow for more logical viewing of spreads in catalogs, as well as for enlarged views of individual products; more integrated sharing options (like Pinterest, for starters); and a check-out process that’s the same for all retailers across the board.
I think this app will be especially handy for me with the upcoming end-of-year holidays approaching, as I can bookmark gift ideas for friends and family and then choose the best possibilities and purchase them all in the same sitting.