Esprit: The Retail Lookbook

Esprit is a retailer I do not have much experience with. Yet I feel due to such, I will be able to make a fair review of their mobile app without positive or negative bias. In fact, the app is actually really good, and because of that, my feelings toward Esprit are now more positive. That is half the battle won I guess.

So the app opens onto a large main image of their celebrity model. The brand logo is emblazoned across the page for recognition and creates a modern and simple appearance. Four areas are listed along the lower toolbar including galleries, which I'm presuming is a lookbook; Clips, again I'm presuming are videos of the collection; News, and a storefinder. 

Moving into the Galleries area, my first assumption is in fact proved slightly incorrect. Rather than a mere Lookbook of latest product imagery, the screen is split into blocks of collections. Scrolling down, the screen encompasses 6 alternate collections including kids, trend areas and mens. By selecting any of the collection images, the user moves through into a page of product imagery.

Unfortunately the app is currently non transactional. However, as far as Lookbooks go, this one tries to be as helpful as possible for the browsing consumer. The page opens up displaying thumbnails in rows of three, allowing a vertically scrolling page. The user can look through the imagery in this way or alternatively select the image of interest. Moving into the individual image, the user is offered a larger view which can also be manually enlarged, product codes for later purchasing and ways for them to share the image by email or Facebook. Furthermore, by selecting the flag icon, the app will locate your nearest store. As this option is also available on the home screen, I am slightly bemused as to why this option is offered twice, yet I guess the point of this app is to send consumers to store. By scrolling horizontally, the user can move efficiently from image to image, rather than returning to the previous screen. 

The remaining areas are presented similarly concerning the collections they are advertising. The overall presentation is neat and simple and provides a clear view of the products. The logo is always kept in the top right hand corner.

The second area, 'Clips,' displays a short clip of the latest collection items. A number of retailers have failed to add video clips into their apps as a way of providing more visual product information, therefore it is great to see non transactional apps taking advantage of the video format. 

The News area is slightly unusual. The user is firstly able to select their country from a range of six, in order to be given the most relevant news. Obviously this app is utilised in a number of countries, saving the company time and effort to release alternative versions. Due to such, different nationalities are able to discover the latest news about the brand from the same application and shows the diversity of the brand. 

The news area itself though is slightly disappointing. There are no visuals or anything to really look at, relying only on the idea that you might click through the links offered and view more through your browser. Yet, I do not want to be moving from the app to my browser when the app is supposed to be for offline convenience. This is a shame, yet could be quickly improved with a little more colour and content.

The final area is the store finder and allows the user to locate their nearest store. As the app is non transactional, this will be the main objective of the app. It is easy to use and presented simply. 

Overall, the app is useful in its non transactional form. It allows a brief overview of the brands latest products in image and video format, offering product codes and the ability to share. The News section is lacking slightly yet the fact that they have incorporated a news feed in 'bite size' format is something I would congratulate them for. They could have been lazy like the majority of retailers and offered an unoptimised blog, so for that my feelings are again heightened. I would like the app to be transactional, with clever ways of buying from the Lookbook areas, yet this may not be part of Esprit's strategy at the current time. Therefore, in its current Lookbook format, I award the app a 3 out of 5.

All screenshots taken of the Esprit app, June 2012. 

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