As malls continue to get bigger and better, navigating them continues to get harder. If you can find a store directory, good luck figuring out where you are on the map and how to get to your destination.
Las Vegans who frequent the Forum Shops at Caesars and Fashion Show mall — and have an iPhone — can mark this off their list of frustrations. And, they have Sam Feuer, CEO of MindSmack, to thank. When he and his wife were shopping at one of their local malls one day, he listened to her frustrations about getting from point A to point B and replied with a mall navigation application for the iPhone called FastMall.
“Between every one to two weeks (my wife and I) would go to the mall,” he says. “We’d have fights about finding restrooms and stores. … It evolved into this.”
The best part about the app depends on who you talk to, but one feature sure to earn raves is the fact Google Maps isn’t necessary to use it. Translation: You don’t need to have cell phone service to operate this app.
In order to make that happen, Feuer and his team had to plot out every single store and every single restaurant and every single escalator in every mall through software. A timely process, but the only way to ensure it would get downloaded. The free app had to be easy to use and, with turn-by-turn directions it’s definitely that. But, it also had to be something a lot of people could get use out of.
“Grandmas can find their way comfortably,” says Feuer. “There are 120 thousand apps out there. Ninety-five percent are garbage, but functional apps will always be around.”
FastMall brings money in through its partnership with retailers who advertise sales and promotions through the app.
If you’re at Prada at the Forum Shops and need to find out the fastest way to get to Gucci, the app will guide you every step of the way. Users who are wheelchair-bound or pushing a stroller will find elevator-only directions. When a bathroom trip is necessary, just shake your phone for directions from wherever you’re standing. There’s also a section for reviews of stores, restaurants and restrooms. The 2.0 version uses Google Maps to locate your car in the parking lot and also has a space for the FastMall community.
Will FastMall create apps for other malls in Vegas? Probably not. According to Feuer, his company has bigger plans: “We want to do the whole Vegas Strip.”