Not many UK retailers have released apps for the iPad so far, but Next has recently released a shopping app.
So how does the Next iPad app compare?
The navigation on the app is much the same as that on the iPhone version of the app, and users can check for their local store, review their Next account, or check the style ideas section, as well as shopping.
The style ideas section is a good idea, and one which should transfer well to the iPad, but it seems to be a missed opportunity.
As demonstrated by Net-A-Porter with its magazine style iPad app, the device is great for flicking and browsing through products as in a catalogue or magazine, and allowing users to click and buy easily if they like something they see.
However, though the style section contains some ideas for outfits which may be useful, there is no interactivity at all. Images of products cannot be seen in any more detail, and there is no way to buy items, which you would think would be the obvious thing to do.
For shopping, users can navigate by swiping between sections before selecting sub-categories from a vertical list. There is a good range of filtering options, though they don't always work as they should.
For instance, if I choose the suits above £250 category, I'm seeing items outside of this price range:
The site search function also produces some irrelevant results, such as on this search for a blue shirt:
The product pages don't provide nearly enough information for customers to decide on a purchase. All you get is a basic product image, the product name, price, and the size options.
There are no alternative product images, no details about the delivery options, or even a size guide for shoes. Very disappointing. All that blank space on the page could have been used to actually sell the product.
Once you have added items to your shopping basket and selected the 'bag' option, you need to wait while Next checks if the item is in stock, something which should have been done on the product page.
It is necessary to register before checkout, and though the registration form is optimised for an iPad, you are just sent to the main Next website once you have entered your details.
Something which will irritate users is the fact that, once you have registered, you have to sign in and review you shopping basket again when you have been directed to the desktop site.
This is a disappointing app from Next, and one which has failed to use the features and potential of the iPad to create a different user experience. It's basically a bigger version of the iPhone app.
There is so much more that Next could have done with the app, such as allowing user to browse through the products in landscape mode, or providing an interactive version of the Next Directory.
As it is, the app is simply a bigger version of the iPhone app, and iPad users would have a better shopping experience using the main website.