ASOS, arguably the most successful apparel pure-play retailer, has finally provided us with yet another channel to shop, and I don't know about you, but I have waited patiently for this moment for quite a while now. Alongside their vast and hugely successful online store, they offer their web app and have now launched their native application for their fashion followers.
Concurrent with the website, the app is split into both mens and women's apparel as the first filtering process. After they have entered their relevant section, the consumer is able to 'Shop By Product,' selecting the apparel banner of most interest.
'New In: Clothing' is a section filled with the sites newest apparel to hit the store. The user can view the products two by two, or (unlike anything I have seen before) can choose to zoom the screen out, to browse smaller products in rows of four. The user is therefore able to customise how they want to view and shop for products, something that many retailers have yet to implement. The drawback to the smaller view is that a description of the product is no longer provided for those interested in what brand the product is sold by, yet prices are still displayed for convenience.
Another aspect of the app that makes it truly unique, is the landscape orientation view. By tilting the phone, the app turns to landscape, and the user can horizontally scroll through the apparel. In the top left corner, the user is instructed as to whether the item is available in other colours, by a rainbow symbol. The size of the products truly enhances the viewing experience and the seamless scrolling makes shopping so much more exciting. By tapping the small star below each image, the product is automatically added to the users saved bag. Seamless.
For further shopping ease, the user is additionally able to sort their search results by price and items, or refine it according to price, colour or brand, creating a fully customisable shopping experience.
And now for the actual product viewing pages. Again, the utmost effort to make the user experience easy, simple and satisfying. Large images run along the top of the app and via horizontal scrolling, the user can view further angles of the product. Below this is the price, and a description followed by the option to choose a colour/size and add it to your bag or save for later.
And of course again, the user can tilt to a landscape view and view the images horizontally. By tapping any of the images, the user can also view a full screen view and zoom the image, incorporating full image interactivity technology.
The user is also informed of the information and care instructions about each garment, incorporating the fabric, measurements and washing instructions via a clean drop down option.
Then comes the personalisation. After viewing the product, price and information, the user is furthermore offered retailer recommendations, and for a selection of products, ASOS have linked products to each product page as add-on products, for the user to 'complete their look.' It is a fantastic tool to promote and sell more products and really makes the user feel catered to.
So, after the product viewing experience was extremely professional and informative, the app offers further tools for the user. The user can share the product via email, social networks or via text message. Incorporating alternative ways to share products is extremely clever and essential for the extreme variety of users.
The 'Bag' area displays the users shopping bag full of products with the final price. When the user downloads the app, before they can install it, it asks the user to log in to their ASOS account and confirm their paying instructions, entering all card information, so that paying via the app is as convenient as buying online. When paying securely, the process is fast, with all of the users details already loaded, really to be ultimately confirmed and purchased.
The 'Saved' area enables the user to view any products they have previously saved, and to conveniently edit the size or colour in order to update and possibly add it to their shopping bag to purchase. It is easy and informative for the user, perfect for a quick shopping trip.
The 'My Searches' tab enables the user to view their search history if they have previously entered a query into the search-bar. Perfect for if it helped you to find a dress and could not find it later...
The final tab, 'More,' is the information aspect of the app. The user can view their account, track order, view delivery and returns information and give feedback. It is essential information, and although may seem aesthetically boring on the outset, the content it necessary and thorough. By tucking it all away together behind a single tab of information, the user can find what they are looking for without hassle.
Overall, the app offered me more than I imagined. It is clever, informed and superior, and has obviously been instructed by some excellent mobile consumer research. It incorporates personalisation, customisation, excellent image interactivity technology and double orientation views.
The one feature that it does not incorporate that is a prided aspect of its online store, is the product catwalk. Although the information and images provided for each product are fantastic, it misses the catwalk element for thorough product viewing, yet I can almost forgive it due to it offering me so many other exciting elements. Additionally, although the functionality of this app is fantastic, the app is missing those added extras that take the app to a more inspirational channel than merely transactional. Although the ASOS website is filled with additional features such as blogs, videos, style advice and imagery, it does not incorporate any of the above into the app. But on the other hand, due to the fact that the retailer also utilises a brilliant iPad magazine for inspiring mobile users, perhaps the brand only wants the iPhone app to be for transactional purposes. Still, I think a small amount of added extras could be added, and for this reason, combined with the excellence of the rest of the app, I award a 4.5 out of 5.
All images screenshot from the ASOS App, September 2011.