Fashion etailer Net-a-porter released an app for the iPad last week, which is an interactive version of the magazine, with video content and links to purchase items direct from its pages.
It's an interesting alternative to simply providing a larger version of its mobile commerce app for the device, but how well does it work?
The magazine can be viewed in either standard or landscape mode, though i couldn't swipe to change the pages in standard mode, so the app worked better viewed in landscape.
Menu options at the foot of each page allow you to skip back to the front page, contents page, email links to products, or review your shopping bag or wishlist:
The beauty of using the iPad for magazine style formats is that, instead of images, you can use video so in the shot above, the catwalk models all move so you can see the clothes from all angles.
There are also video features contained with the pages of the app:
One of the major advantages of such iPad apps, is that it has the potential to merge some of the best features of both catalogues and websites.
The kind of glossy lifestyle displays which can work well in catalogues don't always translate to the internet well, but the iPad provides an alternative, while still retaining the interactivity of the web.
So, having looked at a feature or display in the iPad app, readers/users can simply click on the items they are interested in, and see more details. Users can click anywhere on product photos to see more details, though this could perhaps be made clearer.
Users can then click on the item to open up the product page and see full details of price, available sizes, plus a range of product photos. The iPad can also be rotated to see full screen images of products:
Users can add products as they go along, and access the shopping basket via the link at the bottom of the page.
One important point is that the app doesn't send users elsewhere to complete their purchases, reducing the amount of friction for users, and allowing them to easily head back to the magazine, where they may buy more, once they have been through the checkout.
Unlike the Net-a-porter iPhone app, there is less need to shrink and adapt the checkout process for the iPad, so all product and price information, as well as links can be viewed clearly:
Sensibly, registration before purchase is optional, with just an email address required, while the checkout has been enclosed, unlike the desktop version of the process.
Forms are easy enough to fill in, and information on packaging choices, delivery charges, and payment methods is clear and easy to find. Like the main website, I think the calls to action buttons, and those leading users to the next step of the checkout process could stand out more.
The Net-a-porter iPad magazine app works very well, looks good, and provides an excellent user experiences for shoppers.
It will be interesting to see how well this format works on the iPad, because it provides a meeting point between the catalogue/magazine format, and the web, and crucially, it allows users to act immediately if they see something they want, reducing the time between seeing an item in a magazine and actually buying it.