Putting Local Shopping Mobile Apps to the Test, and Failing Miserably

Have you ever shopped with your cell phone? You will. Don't laugh -- there was a time when no one thought Web shopping would take off, either. But the National Retail Federation, which has a vested interest in such matters, estimated that on Cyber Monday, more than seven million Americans shopped with mobile phones. That was about 6.9% of the total number of digital holiday shoppers, but still, mobile shopping is mushrooming.

But does it work? I gave four of the most popular smartphone shopping apps a chance. Things started smoothly, but pretty soon, my test drive became a disastrous pile-up.