If you have already read my post on Abercrombie and Fitch, you may see a slight reiteration here. As Hollister is obviously a part of the same company, they follow a similar theme. Both are non-transactional within the app, both are built for the purpose of brand building rather than selling, and both are lacking in much thought.
The 'homepage' is indicative of the brands laid back persona. A textured denim blue backdrop with faintly separated sections. Each section is labelled in the signature Hollister font in a style that resembles paint printed on fabric. Tag lines such as 'Check Out Whats Hot!' and 'Check Us Out' personalise the offerings and add to the overly-friendly relationship that the brand often tries to create within the first second you walk into their brick and mortar store. Yet, I do love the brand for that and you can't fault them for their mission to create the ultimate brand experience.
However, I do find myself feeling disappointed every time I look at this app. It almost feels like the brand, similar to Abercrombie, have invested in mobile commerce technology only for the reason that they felt they needed to. They must have seen the band wagon rolling and ran to jump on board. It doesn't really add anything new to the app world or the brand whatsoever. By 'checking out whats hot' the user is entitled to look through about 25 new pieces from either the 'Dudes' or 'Betty's' section - yet another way that Hollister tries to differentiate itself from its (boring) English rivals.
Each piece is shown in full screen and requires the user to horizontally scroll to reach the next. By selecting a product, you can merely view the price and after 'flipping' the phone for more details, the user can read a small amount more about the product. I hoped that the 'Shop' symbol would allow me to add this jacket to my pretend basket, but alas, it was not to be. The shop symbol only leads the user to the Hollister website, integrated into the app. I always find this such a cop out when it comes to retailer apps. If you want to allow your consumers to shop, make sure you offer them the best possible way to. Please note: integrating your unoptimised web store into your app is not acceptable.
As you can see, trying to purchase on the web store within the app is too difficult and frustrating to even bother with. So we will move on.
Moving on to the second area on the app, 'Check us out on Facebook', of course the user is taken to the standard Facebook page, once again opened within the constraints of the app. It looks clumsy, the user has to sign in in order to do anything and it draws away from the actual brand. Im not a fan. Excuse the pun.
The fourth area allows you to view the rest of the Hollister family if you weren't already aware. Each link gives you a small brand briefing, a link to their website and a store locator. Handy if you were in America and needed to locate your nearest Abercrombie. Not so handy in England when the only Abercrombie and Fitch store resides in the capital. I don't thinking I'll be needing directions. Thanks though.
And in the last section, you can find your nearest Hollister's store. Once again a standard feature that never fails to bore me. The chances are that as a fan of the brand, demonstrated by the fact that you have downloaded the app, that you will know where your nearest store is. But in the argument that you don't, I guess that this might be useful. Maybe.
Overall, like I mentioned earlier, this app is fairly dissapointing. For a brand that is prided for its experiential store design and innovative ideas, I felt that their app should follow suit. It would be amazing to see galleries of fantastic photography, shot in exotic and inspirational locations, just willing me to buy into the lifestyle. Possibly a competition to enter to win a trip to California. Maybe a video of the latest collection filled with gorgeous models and equally gorgeous products. And perhaps actual product pages where you can view the products in detail and add them to your bag. Until then I will remain disappointed and award the app a 2 out of 5.
All screenshots taken of the Hollister app, February 2012.