The John Lewis app popped up some time in the last few months. Its objective seems to be one thing, to sell John Lewis products via another channel. Aside from this, the app does not really serve any other purpose than a mobile catalogue. That said, the look and feel of the app is succinct with the brand image and their usual identity traits. Clean, clear lines, beige grey tones with the signature green of the logo.
The opening screen is as above. No image or colour in sight, just four areas of navigation which are duplicated at all times throughout the bottom toolbar. The user can scan products in store to find them on the mobile app, search for a product, view their previously viewed items or find a local store. Nothing more, nothing less.
By deciding to 'Search', the consumer is taken to another plain page with only the brand colours displayed. A small description instructs the consumer on how to use the search function and the rest is common sense. By opting to 'Browse by department', a drop down list fills the screen to which you are able to vertically scroll to find your category. The categories are standard and also allow the consumer to shop by brand name.
Moving into the 'Women's' area, the user can again use the search bar to find a product. They can also vertically scroll through the list of brands or products. This is the first time we also see anything promotion based or even colourful on the application.
The product lists are slightly better. Each product displayed in a fairly large horizontal bar with a small description, colour, price and thumbnail. The user can at this point choose to sort the item with the sorting tools provided on the toolbar. Products can be sorted by relevance to the search, price low to high or vice versa, by how new it may be or in alphabetical order.
The user may also choose to 'refine' the products, moving further into the categorisation of the merchandise. Products are separated by brand, length, shape, price etc. and make the filtering process much easier.
The product area is as above. The thumbnail displayed slightly larger to the left with a description and price to the right. Yet, this is as far as product viewing goes. There is no option to enlarge, zoom or view other images. It is literally this one static image and only this. It is clear therefore that John Lewis are using this app as an extension of their selling channels and not for product exploration. I'm guessing they are hoping that people in the store or on the move will purchase the products on their phone after previously viewing the products. Very bold.
Below the image and description is the area to add the product to your bag or wishlist. The consumer can also read about the items care instructions, size guides, delivery information and news about the brand.
The information I must say is fairly detailed. It includes all of the information about the fabric as well as snippets of style advice and product information. At least they have this.
The news about the brand is also a nice touch and something I haven't seen much of. The retailer gives a short synopsis of the brand for the unaware consumer which really adds more personality to the garments.
The user is then able to share the product via email. Somewhat archaic in this modern age I feel, but at least there is some sort of sharing feature.
The history tool I do really like actually. The consumer is able to look back at products they have previously searched for in a clean and plain setting. It allows the products to appear brighter against the white background and offers a quick reminder of the item. Note how the price is missing though...
Finally, the user can find their local store, the primary purpose of the mobile application. This area I do like on this app as again it has some colour! The consumer can view a map or list view of the local stores and on choosing a location, can view the shop details, ring the store and view the opening hours, as below. It is very handy in some cases and adding extra information about each store is a bonus.
In conclusion, the app does what it is intended to do; sell the products. It doesn't include any fancy imagery or promotional material to create desire or inspiration, neither does it include any imagery at all actually. One product image per product is really poor and quite shocking for such a store so I would be surprised if it remains this way for much longer. Videos and imagery would have livened up the whole app and added more colour and visuals, as well as personality. Other marketing features would have also livened up this space without taking away from the overall design and feel. Otherwise however I do quite like the way that it has been designed so consistently with the website and the brand identity. It is also extremely easy and clear to use which is a bonus. I understand the the brand is aiming to look more upmarket and this app does portray this nicely. Therefore, although they have offered a working and easy to use channel, they have not given the user enough ways to view the products or be inspired, pushing me to award the app 2.5 stars out of 5.
All screenshots taken of the John Lewis App, September 2012.