Online clothing retailer Mr Porter has launched a new iPad app, The Tux, that acts as guide for men preparing for a formal party.
It’s packed full of video content and hi-res imagery that gives the user advice on how to pick the right tuxedo and accessories, as well as educating them on the correct way to behave on formal occasions.
The focus on entertainment mirrors the functionality of an iPad app that Net-A-Porter launched in August, and highlights that fact that the brand view tablets as a valuable tool for growing the brand as well as driving sales.
But while the Net-A-Porter app focused on women’s fashion in general, Mr Porter’s solely deals with content around tuxedos.
That’s a rather niche market, so is the app able to hold the user’s attention?
There are four different sections, with each introduced by a short video clip of a suave, James Bond style character driving a car.
The sections have rather cryptic titles, such as ‘What a swell party’, ‘The tux revival’ and ‘Shaken not stirred’, but each is crammed with interesting, high quality video content that is fun to watch even if you’re not shopping for a tuxedo.
You can find out about notorious celeb parties, hear about the history of tuxedos, watch cocktail and bowtie tutorials, and get fashion advice from designers and journalists.
On top of that, there are funny, animated clips giving dance lessons and tips on party etiquette, and an interactive section on tuxedo accessories.
And Mr Porter hasn’t scrimped on the big name guests - Terence Stamp narrates the section about how different celebs wear tuxedos, while the tutorial on chatting up women features model Daisy Lowe.
Whether or not is has any longevity is debatable. Though the videos are engaging I can’t image you’d watch them more than a couple of times at most, but then it’s probably not that often you’ll be in the market for a new tuxedo anyway.
Though the ultimate aim is obviously to improve sales, The Tux focuses primarily on entertainment by providing great content and a fun user experience.
But that’s not to say there aren’t a number of links to Mr Porter’s e-commerce platform.
Several of the videos have ‘Tap to shop’ calls-to-action in the bottom corner that pause the video and allow the user to click on links to buy each of the items on show.
The interactive accessories section also includes ‘Shop me’ CTAs that links directly to product pages.
It’s a great way of subtly combining entertainment with e-commerce, as it doesn’t feel like you’re being sold to.
However, my one criticism is that the e-commerce function isn’t hosted within the app. Instead it opens a browser and links to the Mr Porter desktop site.
This diminishes the user experience, as though the site is easy to navigate it isn’t optimised for mobile.
Also, it means you have to shut the browser and re-open the app if you want to continue viewing the content, which makes it feel slightly disjointed.
Issues with the e-commerce functionality aside, The Tux is extremely slick and great fun to use. The videos are fantastic and it’s easily the highest quality content I’ve seen in an app.
I imagine the production budget must have been eye-watering, but when you’re trying to sell £3,600 suits you can’t afford to undermine the brand with poor quality content.
Part of the problem that luxury online brands have is an inability to recreate the in-store experience that you would expect when spending thousands of pounds on a new clothes.
To this end, the app is perfect for promoting Mr Porter as a luxury brand and offers an extraordinary user experience that should reassure customers about making such an expensive purchase.