This is a guest post for Poq by Victoria Magrath of The Mobile Shopper.
A huge number of fashion brands have introduced a mobile application within the past 18 months. What started as a few retailers branching into the unknown world of mobile commerce has now turned into the realisation that mobile is a channel that needs to be explored, and fast. Yet, with so many great examples of mobile best practice around, it is surprising that a handful of fashion brands have introduced applications that don’t meet expectations. Some fail to include product information, others dismiss customer relationship features and then others just weren’t worth the effort in the first place.
But there are a number of brands who’ve designed a mobile app that almost overshadows their main online store. The best mobile channels have one feature in common that truly makes them special. They’ve been designed as a consumer experience. They strive to create a fun, exciting and inspirational channel for their consumers, giving them a reason to return. Here are the top three and why they are that good!
I hate to say it, as Topshop is often top of the rankings for most fashion lists, but they really do know how to design some fantastic shopping channels. Their concept is unique from everyone else on the mobile market, opting for a style and layout that truly represents their personality and brand identity.
Rather than opening to a generic page with a list of navigational areas, the splash screen disappears to reveal a scrolling page called ‘We Love,’ with graphic links placed in a seemingly sporadic format. Rather than asking the consumer to choose to shop for dresses or for shoes straight away, they instead offer up their latest collections, their Tumblr account for some social inspiration, snippets from their blog or edited lists of products chosen by the Topshop designers. If the consumer did want to shop, they could find the option to do so placed within the navigation bar at the bottom of the page, as is now generic and therefore understood. They do not need to be sent directly to the shopping area or asked if they want to shop using a giant button. They will shop if they wish to.
Other than the statement opening screen, the app integrates fashion videos, a bite-size and optimised blog, their full product selection, a scan in store tool and a wish-list area. Each aspect creates a fun and exciting shopping experience for the user, ensuring they are inspired and interested to shop with the brand. Every page has been thought about with the Topshop consumer in mind, and it truly shows.
Miss Selfridge was one of the later brands to bring out a native application, which was surprising for the ever-pioneering Arcadia group. However, it is apparent that a lot of thought and creativity has gone into the channel along with a great knowledge of consumer marketing.
The home screen is extremely different to Topshop, opening to a list of navigational areas. Yet, where other apps fail to list areas of excitement or interest, this app offers a large host of features to their consumer. They have two direct links to the products via ‘New In’ and ‘Shop All,’ so those consumers using the app to shop, can do so.
Yet, for those consumers looking to gain something more than a product from this app, they can view the Lookbook for outfit and styling inspiration, they can view the latest collection videos and behind the scenes previews. They can view features such as product newsletters and trend boards with direct links to products, they can read the optimised blog to gain the latest news and information from the brand and they can utilise the app to scan products in store for later purchasing. Not only all of this, but they can also check in to a store, creating a fusion between in store and mobile experiences and spreading the word via social media.
All of this would be fantastic on it’s own, but they have also integrated an area titled ‘My Miss Selfridge,’ an area that allows consumers to upload images of themselves wearing Miss Selfridge clothing to be placed on a large pin-board of consumers. In this area they can also view the looks they have uploaded, view the looks of others and buy the products directly from the consumer pictures. Whoever thought of this idea for the Miss Selfridge consumer is a genius. It works perfectly for the target market, and gives them a feeling of ownership and affiliation with the brand. I have nothing but praise for this application and it has actually increased my positivity towards this brand because of their attention to detail.
There is something about the Net A Porter app that really makes it special. It could be their individual layout and presentation concept. It could be their assortment of features that have never been used before. Or perhaps it is their ability to portray a refined and designer brand via a mobile channel.
The opening screen utilises graphic links to product areas, brighter and more interesting than a product category list. The user can also choose to look at the newest products, an A-Z list of the stocked designers, or to view products by trend. This area is particularly elegant. The uninformed user can become aware of current trends whilst moving into a shopping area tailored to the trend pieces. Overall, if you want to shop for products on this app, they have your every want and need catered for.
Further to browsing and purchasing, the user can also view the ‘Fashion Fix’ area within the News tab on the navigation bar. Here the page is split into stories, video features and articles, each with the option to shop the products mentioned or viewed. The bridge between what you see and what you can buy is built to perfection. The layout of the page is again elegant, easy to use and attractive. Additionally, a tab titled ‘Live’ displays an up-to-date feed of products that other users are adding to their shopping bags or wish-lists, complete with thumbnails and a small description. What a superb way to inspire those jealous and aspirational shoppers to purchase; show them how many others are deciding to purchase. Absolutely genius. This brand never fails to impress.
Victoria Magrath is a fashion mobile PhD researcher and a digital marketing intern who reviews mobile fashion apps on her blog, The Mobile Shopper.