If you have bought a smart phone, and you're a female, I will probably guess that this app was one of the first you downloaded. Standard. H&M have managed to secure a fantastic portfolio of purchasing channels in the past few years, enabling online transactions, moving to a catalogue scheme and finally incorporating transaction capabilities within their iPad and iPhone applications.
Overall the app is good, but would probably benefit from a few changes. It definitely offers the impression that it has been designed as a lookbook, showing off the latest collections and videos, and not really as a shopping channel, yet there are some really thought out features that make this app stand out from the competition.
As I mentioned previously, the user is able to view a small collection of the latest products from a mixture of different ranges. In June 2011, the female user could view a collection named 'After Beach,' consisting of promotional photography of models wearing the latest 'after the beach' holiday attire. Alongside this were ' Women's Summer Accessories', 'Summer' wear and 'Swimwear' as well as the latest garments to be sold in store - 'In Stores now ladies.' Each section consists of around 20 garments or less, in most cases though, ten or less, with a name and price tag. More products within these features would be extremely beneficial, especially making sure that any blank space within the product pages were filled with products rather than background.
A really innovative feature within this app is the News section. The user is offered a 'bitesize' news feed of the latest information that they can vertically scroll through. By choosing the 'Social Media Wall' tab, the user can scroll through the brands recent tweets and Facebook and Lookbook posts. This is the first feature of this sort that I have viewed within a fashion app, providing the user with all of the brands social content within one wall, so hats off to H&M for such an original and innovative design.
In terms of promotional material, the app uses an intuitive technique to provide the user with information and vouchers. The 'Shake you iPhone' feature rewards the user with a pop up display when they shake their phone whilst using the app. Each time the phone is shaken, a new voucher pops out, until all vouchers are exhausted and the user has to wait for more to be added. The pop ups inform the user of the latest collections, current sales, new events or occasionally offer a code or % off voucher for use in store or online.
Now, when it comes to shopping, the majority of apps do not allow transactions. However, the H&M app has integrated a checkout into their app to allow consumers to purchase through the application. By choosing the 'Shop Online' option, the user is taken to the H&M website, within the app. The user is then able to shop the website without using their internet browser. As I have mentioned in previous posts, using a full size website to browse and purchase clothing is a difficult task, yet I'm sure there are consumers out there that are using the service. However, if the brand were to condense and minimise their website version into a mobile structure, allowing the user to view the clothing in a user-friendly fashion and add them to their bag at the touch of a button, I'm sure the number of in-app purchases would rise dramatically.
Other features include the 'My H&M' area. The user is able to find their saved offers, change their settings and find products they have previously added to their wish list.
To locate the nearest stores, the user can search by city or use the locate button to find their location and display their closest H&M store. Although I once found this feature somewhat dull and slightly unnecessary, I have been proven wrong on a few occasions when I have visited a city not as local and have been desperate to locate particular stores. They are in fact useful and with a run down of what collections can be found within each store, the user is able to visit the most relevant store.
For the fact that the app has incorporated some really original features such as the Social Media wall and the 'Shake your iPhone' feature, yet does not offer full product collections and has not completely managed to offer a seamless shopping experience, the app has been awarded 3 stars. I'm sure over the next few months, it will continue to improve as their online channel has, and we will be rewarded with a gorgeous and interactive mobile shopping channel. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
All images screenshot from the H&M mobile app