Trying out a New Look

New Look is one of the latest retailers to present us with a native application and a new, consistent transactional channel. But I sort of get the impression that that is all they wanted to present...

The opening screen is quite self-explanatory. A large banner covers the top half of the screen on an automatic rotation between four alternative images, of which the user is also able to manually control. Below this are the 'Latest Features' - small articles put together primarily for consumer trend and style advice, teaming celebrity images with matching New Look products and offering hints and tips on how to wear the trend. Again, each article is on an automatic horizontal rotation of about 12 articles which can be manually managed by the user. 

The example above offers New Look consumers advice on how to re-create Fearne Cotton's look. A small amount of textual copy is placed alongside the image of the celeb for advice, below which are New Look products available for purchase that would be similar to Fearne's style. The user is then offered tips, tricks and ideas on how to wear the style. Its a nice way to allow consumers to style themselves like their favourite celebrities and being able to purchase the suggested products via selection is a brilliant way to sell products. As always, the user can share the article with the usual social network suspects, or easily move to the following article by choosing the next arrow. Nice.

The app utilises 5 options along the lower toolbar. The user can move to the home-screen, the New Look store, search for nearby stores, view available offers and read any New Look information they would like to. The image above is the 'Shop' option, and takes the consumer almost to a mini store within the app. By selecting to 'Shop Now,' the user is taken to the screen below. 

Straight away, the consumer is given options to how they may want to shop. Women's, shoe's, men's, teen's etc. in a simple category layout. Otherwise, the user can search for an item within the search bar, view their account or track their recent orders. The screen is very much a condensed version of their website and covers all bases. 

One tool I was very impressed to see was the small customisation tool in the top right corner as in the images above. Not many apps have integrated experience features such as this into their apps yet aside from ASOS who have single-handedly laid the yellow-brick app road. The tool allows the user to customise how they view the product pages, either by three horizontal images, two or just one and enables a personal viewing experience. When the user has found an item they prefer, they easily tap the image to select. 

The product page again is filled with information. Product information, alternative colours, service information and even styling ideas. It also allows the user to share the item and add it to their bag as above. It is easy to navigate and hasn't left anything out. 

The imagery also comes with multiple views and a zoom tool which unfortunately doesn't allow manual enlargement and is exited by a pixelated 'x' making it look slightly cheap, yet still, the consumer does still manage to view their product reasonably. The rest of the app's product viewing works in the same way, and is perfectly ample for purchasing. 

Moving back to the five main sections, the store locator again is simple and predictable. Use the geographic locator to find where you are situated and look up your nearest store. Nothing new there really. 

The 'Offers' section again is fairly self-explanatory. The most recent promotional offers are displayed for the user, such as price deals and recent sales. I almost wished there were more voucher code  offerings as a loyalty reward for app users, but that is just me being hopeful and expectant. Each offer can again be shared and clicked through to view the offer page. Again, nice.

The final of the five sections is the information screen. Nicely categorised for simple viewing, the user can read up on the company's service information in order to remove their risk perceptions before they order. It is clear and simple and everything it really needs to be. 

The final tool, integrated into the home screen of the app is the scanner feature. Trying to bridge the gap between the traditional store and m-commerce, the retailer is giving the user the option to scan any products they find in-store to be taken directly to their product page on the app. In this way, they are able to view the item, alternative colours, more information and buy the size they might have originally wanted but that was out of stock in-store. I would be interested to learn if the tool is utilised as much as the retailer might hope, or whether barcode scanning might become just another mobile fad. But we shall see in time. Yet, hats off to them for trying. 

Overall, that is the app in a nut-shell. Quite a simple, efficient channel to purchase. Yet, for some reason I felt somewhat underwhelmed on viewing it. Yes it offers everything I might need to purchase, an easy viewing experience, even some customisation and personalisation tools, but the design doesn't fill me with awe and excitement. There is no blog to read, although I feel they have created a similar feature via the 'latest features' tool. There are also no promotional imagery sections, designed to inspire my next party outfit. It is just missing that extra something.

For doing a great job with the transactional side, but not leaving me overwhelmed with excitement and experiential delight, I award this app a 3.5 out of 5. Nice, but not nice enough. 

All screenshots taken from the New Look app, December 2011. 

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