New Look is the latest UK retailer to get into the mobile commerce market, with the launch of a site last week.
The site was designed by Mobile Interactive Group, and has been optimised for smartphone users. I've been reviewing the new site...
The choice of a mobile website as the first stage of a brand's mobile strategy is now more common, as it makes sense to broaden the offering as much as possible.
Also, instead of attempting to cater for all mobile users with one site, New Look has produced a version that caters for 'high-end' phones with the aim of producing the best possible user experience.
The result is a very good mobile site, with plenty of examples of best practice mobile commerce...
Home page and navigation
The layout is relatively simple, yet matches the look and feel of the desktop version of the site.
The navigation options are shown on vertical menus which expand without requiring the page to refresh again. This is an excellent method of saving space, and allows New Look to present categories and sub-categories without slowing the page down.
The availability of the various product sub-categories also allows users to refine their search, though a few more refinement options may have been useful on product results pages.
There is a 'refine results' option, but this only allows for sorting by newness, price and category. Other filters, such as colour, size and fit would be useful to make the numbers of results returned more manageable.
When reviewing mobile commerce sites or apps, I often complain that product pages don't contain enough detail on products, delivery charges and returns policies, but New Look does this very well, without producing a cluttered page.
Customers are shown a variety of product images, all of which can be zoomed into, while calls to action are clear:
The payment process is where many mobile commerce sites have been disappointing. Too often, mobile shoppers are asked to register before they can checkout.
This is something that many online retailers have begun to avoid (or provide alternatives like guest checkout) on the desktop versions of their sites, but it seems to be common practice on mobile.
Instead of asking for people to create an account, this New Look site leads customers straight into the checkout process where they can start entering their name and address details.
This removes a potential barrier to purchase for new customers, and they can still save their details for next time. Meanwhile, for existing customers, the payment process is very smooth, and can be achieved with very few clicks between homepage and payment confirmation. It's this ease of purchase that can really make the difference in mobile commerce.
Apart from a smooth process, another way to make it easy for customers to pay (and to address security concerns) is to offer alternative payment options.
As well as the usual credit and debit cards, New Look offers PayPal, which is great not only for capturing more shoppers, but also because it can speed up the checkout process.
This is a very good mobile commerce site, which does a great job of converting the desktop experience for mobile users.
Where it really excels is in the payment process, which is very fast for registered users, and doesn't contain the barriers to purchase for new customers that are common on other m-commerce offering.
Retailers looking to design mobile checkouts should take a look at the New Look mobile site first...