Zara: Dull sophistication

The Zara app. What can I say about this. Erm, standard, simple, sophisticated. Yet whilst trying to remain positive, I cant help but feel that it is really somewhat dull... 

The home screen isn't really much of an inspiration. Unlike many retailers who opt to emblazon their first viewed screen with an aspirational image taken from their latest collection shoot, Zara has sort of skipped that step and headed straight into the products. I see why they may have done this, but a bit of colour wouldnt have gone a miss. On a positive note however, the screen is clear and simple and doesnt take much thought or skill. It helps you to find the products, and sometimes that's all the retailer cares about. But I can't help thinking that in this modern marketing age, it is the little marketing tricks that make all of the difference to the consumer, and that without them, it leaves them feeling a sense of alienation.

Moving into one of the product categories, this example being 'Woman,' the screen is filled with product imagery laid out in rows and columns of three. The user can vertically scroll downwards to uncover further products and the product is selected individually in order to uncover more details. Again it is clear and simple and allows the user to get a sense of the products and collection.

The individual product pages are again simple, yet this time a bit too much so. The user is offered a few alternative views of the garment hidden behind a 'Photos' tab. Each photo can be zoomed and then clicked to move it to full screen. The user is then able to manually zoom the image. Yet apart from this small amount of image interactivity technology, there is nothing else on the product pages that add to or aid me in my experience. There is no product information, size information, fabric specifications or even a description of the garment. It is merely a "Here you are, here's the product. Buy it if you want to, if you dont like the look of it, don't bother!' Or at least thats how I feel that the app would speak to me if it was able to. Where is the information that is supposed to persuade me to put this product in my bag? Where is the effort from the retailer to encourage me to buy? It is just disappointing.

The checkout screen is similarly simple. Each item listed horizontally and stacked one by one. Each contains an image, price, reference and reminder of the size you have chosen. The total price is displayed at the bottom of the page, and if the consumer is happy, they can hit 'Buy.' Standard.

Again, a store guide. Blah.

The profile area of the lower toolbar is fairly easy to navigate but again somewhat boring. The user can access their Zara account from this screen, including viewing their recent orders and the addresses they have sent them to, but there is again no real information. No information about the brand, the returns policy, the sizes that the retailer uses. Nothing of any relevance to myself as a purchasing consumer. If I havnt made an order already, this just won't be any use to me whatsoever.  

Now this is where it gets a little more interesting. If you actually stay on this app longer than five minutes and decide to scroll down the category screen, you will reach some features of more interest. From this area, the user can view their recent campaign imagery, their latest lookbook, and view collection videos.  It's not much, but it is certainly necessary at this point.

The campaign section is what it says on the tin. The user can horizontally scroll through full screen images of the latest campaign shots. The images can't be selected for more information or the option to buy the products shown, they are there I guess for inspiration of some sort, but yet some prices might not have gone a miss. However, at least its there.

The Lookbook is slightly better due to its ability to offer you the products to buy. By again moving from one full-screen lookbook image to the next, by selecting the image there is a possibility that the brand has linked the image with the products for you to purchase. Yet, after looking through a few, some of the images had no linked products whatsoever. Yet, by doing this the Lookbook area becomes more accessible and encouraging to those who may want to purchase; but its the only feature of its kind on this app.

The Videos section is slightly lacking. I expect to see a whole host of exciting, intriguing media clips for me to get inspired by, but I am merely given two videos. The womens and mens S/S12 video consists of a female and male model, standing in front of a camera and moving slowly and delicately from side to side whilst showing off the products. It is helpful, and I almost feel a tad inspired, but it's nothing to rave about. In fact, I clicked off after about 20 seconds due to its repetiveness.

Par exemple.

So overall, as you might be able to tell, I'm not too enthralled. Please dont get me wrong, Im a fan of Zara, their stores and their website in fact, just not of their mobile channel. It seems rushed, forced and lacking in any effort whatsoever. There is no attempt to make any kind of relationship with the consumers, there is barely anything to entice them to buy and it is so lacking in information it seems ludicrous of them to assume that the consumer does not expect more. It lacks any type of personalisation, customisation or social media influences, and yet these are the types of things that keeps people coming back to your brand. So why does Zara feel exempt from this? I would definitely not be encouraged to browse for products on this app, never mind actually purchase or even spend longer than 2 minutes on it. I understand that they have tried to match the design to suit their other channels and to portray this air of elegance and sophistication, but sometimes there are other ways to do so other than using black and white.

In conclusion, this app is awarded a 1.5 out of 5 and a hope for the future that this might meet the fashionable heights of their traditional and online strategies.

All screenshots taken of the Zara App, February 2012.

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