I was unsure whether to review the Amazon app due to the fact that it is not essentially a fashion store. However, due to the brand selling everything from toasters to shoes, I decided that there are still some consumers who will utilise the app to buy fashion.
The best thing about this app are the personalisation tools it comprises of. I'm sure we are all aware of how clever the Amazon website is, as it remembers everything we have bought and offers us everything we could buy along those lines, recommending a large number of additional products. The fact that the app has integrated this same feature is great and creates a really consistent journey from website to application. The aesthetic is also concurrent with the online store, utilising silver and whites and a simplified layout. The user can either search via the search bar or by choosing to 'Shop by department.'
The search bar brings up a list of products that match your search. I searched for Jeffrey Campbell boots as I knew that Amazon was sure to sell them on the site. The search brings up a thumbnail and a description with prices and star ratings within large horizontal bars. The search can also be refined by department or by delivery options, which is slightly alternative to other refine options. The layout is pretty bland, but then again we need to take into account that this isn't primarily a fashion app.
The product screen shows the product at the top which can be selected for a full screen view, but not an alternative view. This is awful when it comes to buying fashion and accessories. The description bar lists the most obvious information such as brand name and price but by clicking the bar, a second screen opens to reveal further information such as a description, features and details. Some of the products also include customer reviews with star ratings and consumer opinions. This is really useful, especially for the non fashion products.
The user can also share the product via text or email or the social networks if they wish to.
If the user chooses to buy the item, they can either buy it straight away, being led to their sign in information and a direct checkout, or instead they can add it to their wish list or basket for later checkout. This is quite a simple way to offer a number of options to the user depending on what they are hoping to do. They can save it for later, keep shopping or check out straight away. Easy.
The basket area is the same as that on the Amazon site. The basket at the top, a subtotal and then saved items listed below. The website also remembers saved items for years, as there are items in my saved items that I looked at years previously. That is a very clever website indeed.
The wish list area is fairly explanatory and contains all of the items you are wishing for. You can also manage the list, sending it and enabling it for particular users only.
The 'More' area contains all of the necessary information that you may need including order and account info, help and contact details. You can also search for someone else's wish list by entering their name and email address, helpful for those who have set up a wish list for birthday, wedding or christmas present inspiration.
There is also a new 'experimental feature' where the user can photograph items and be recommended similar products from Amazon, almost like a product look up. If you can't find it, they will find it for you. It is a really interesting concept and I would be interested to see if it works. If it does catch on though, they will have a lot of researching to do.
Overall, I need to put my feelings towards the design of this app aside and review it more on its features and usability. For the utilitarian user, this is a great app. Very simple, straight forward and user-friendly. Products can be located by the user, they can look through a variety of similar recommendations, read customer reviews on the products and product information. Yet, products generally have only one image, which for fashion products isn't really acceptable. For a fashion consumer searching for a new product on this app, the chances of them finding a product and being satisfied with how it will look, fit and hang is very slim. For that reason, it is not that ideal as a fashion app. However, some of the other features including the wish list, the 'Amazon remembers' tool and the personalised recommendations are really great and make the app a lot better than it would be without them. For that reason, I have to give Amazon a 3 stars for offering a simple and usable app with very clever features, but for not really paying any attention to the requirements of the fashion consumer.
All screenshots taken of the Amazon app, November 2012.