15.7.11

Mango: Surprisingly fruitful




 For me, Mango has never really managed to make its mark on the UK high street in comparison to the likes of Zara, Topshop or H&M. There has always been something lacking from its offering. It was due to this judgement that I was really surprised to see that their iPhone app exceeded my expectations.


The menu screen above, appears after a short loading screen where the Mango lettering shimmers and sparkles. It immediately boasts its collaboration with Scarlett Johansson, with an image from the most recent Mango seasonal shoots. Below the image, lacking a brand name, the user can view the collection, shop online, use a 'Mix and Match' tool, view their wishlist, or locate the nearest stores.


The first option - the collection area, allows the user to view the latest promotional imagery highlighting the new collection products, has a style advice area named "What Should I Wear By Mango', and promotes the Mango blog, 'Keep the Beat.'


The collection area is a feature I really admire. Each collection is separated and included as a summative image. Each image is placed next to the last, connected to a central point, to create a wheel of linked images. The user can scroll through the images, rotating then around the central point until they select the image and collection they desire. 




After clicking through to an area, users can view promotional images or a video of that collection. Furthermore, the user can smoothly view the details of each garment that is featured in the imagery and add it effortlessly to their bag. Is this not what retailers have been aiming for a few years now? A streamlined purchasing experience? It is so easy and effective, it is just what an app should be for every consumer... and every retailer!


What should I wear is a quirky and unique feature. It offers the user ideas of outfits and styles for a variety of occasions such as a date night or a social occasion with friends. The user can view images of outfit ideas as well as an inspirational video. I have not seen a similar feature anywhere else, and it really adds a personality and stylish, advisory tone to the brand.


The 'Keep the beat' blog is designed as a focal area within the app. Whereas most retailers have incorporated their blog into their app, it is not often placed pride of place within the menu screen. Yet, perhaps Mango believe that their blog is a significant part of their brand personality and want to promote it much more heavily. Whatever the reason may be, I think it is a useful and positive design move. The user is straight away drawn to the blog area, and if the blog is written and updated professionally, I don't see how this could be a detrimental tactic. In fact, the blog is maintained and designed in fitting with the Mango identity and offers information and advice that the Mango consumer would find really interesting.



By choosing to 'Shop Online', the user is taken to a list of available garment types. The user can select the item type they want and look through thumbnail images of each piece until they view the product in more detail, as below.


The shopping space is simple and easy to use yet lacks somewhat in necessary information. There are no product details such as sizing or fabric, just the option to place a particular size into your basket, which of course is one of the easiest functions to operate within the app. It is really exciting to see a high street retailer incorporating a purchasing function into their mobile channel, making full use of a mobile channels capabilities and benefits. Yet, there is also only one view of the garment which is dissapointing, and no interactive functions such as enlargement or zoom which is a large drawback in comparison to other retail apps that have implemented this seamlessly.


The 'Wish List' area I am yet to use. To use the wish list area, you must first be a Mango consumer with a Mango account. Yet I'm sure if I was a Mango consumer and had such details, having products added to my online wish list, updated and synced automatically to my app would be a fantastic feature. However, as a shopper who never dotes on the idea of purchasing but buys at the first sign of a checkout till, this feature may be somewhat wasted on me.


'Mix and Match' is a feature that many online stores are struggling to implement. Retailers are really trying to offer consumers as near to a physical shopping experience as possible, so implementing an almost changing room area seems like an innovative idea. Yet, I am yet to see one that I would use frequently, if at all. Mango has incorporated this feature into their app, whereby the user uploads an image of their full body onto the app, allowing them to 'dress' their self-mannequin with Mango products. It is a noble idea, yet i feel doesn't quite meet it's aim. First of all, placing a cut out Mango jacket onto a body that is already wearing a jacket, is not all that successful. Secondly, the small number of products on the feature means that once your 'mannequin' has been dressed once or twice, boredom begins to creep in and the feature feels slightly useless.


Yet, there is a function where you can use a Mango model, scantily clad, and dress her in the Mango products... which fit her shape perfectly of course. It is slightly better than the previous option, yet still manages to lose my attention after a few minutes due to the lack of products to make use of.


Alongside this feature however, you can also share your outfit creation with others or save it to your photo album. Most innovatively, if you really love the outfit, it has offered you the functionality of purchasing the clothes you have styled your model in. Excellent!


One of my least favourite areas of this app is the 'Stores' area. The user is simply offered a store locator and a directory, to find what stores stock certain items. Without meaning to sound cynical, if I have installed this app on my iPhone, or Android phone, do I not already have google maps and google search at the touch of my fingertips anyway? Why would I need such easily retrievable information when this area could have been utilised so much more productively? Further to this, if you want to offer the user information, it should be more along the lines of terms and conditions, service information, brand information and policies. Where are they located on the app? Nowhere as far as I can see and I find it so hard to comprehend why a retailer does not think it essential to incorporate delivery, returns and policy information for their purchasing customers.

However, although these (rather important) pieces of information are missing, the app still
manages to entertain. The design of the collection areas, the style advice feature and the regularly updated blog really demonstrate the thought and effective ideas that were put into the apps creation. The most effective part for me is definitely the ability to shop from the app, allowing an easy and simple way for their users to shop ubiquitously, yet this does still need some work!

For the fact that Mango have altered my view of their brand for the better, yet have forgotten to insert some information that really needs to be there, I would award this app a 4 star rating. If you're a big Mango fan, I don't think this would disappoint!
All images screenshot from the Mango app, July 2011. 


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