House of Fraser launched an iPhone app last week, which allows customers to search for gifts on their mobiles.

The GiftFinder app also allows users to buy direct from the app, I’ve been seeing how well this works…

The app doesn’t present the complete House of Fraser range, but is limited to a selection of gifts and Christmas decorations. Users can also find their nearest store.

It’s a well designed app which looks good and works well. The store finder is easy to use; you can either search by postcode or town, or else use the GPS function to bring up a list of local stores.

Once you have done this, the information is useful. The address, phone number, and opening hours are all shown, as well as a link to get directions to the store:

For finding gifts, the navigation is clear, and helps you choose gifts for him, for her, for children etc:

The product pages are clear enough, and from here you can choose to save items to a gift list, send to a friend, or buy from the app. 

The checkout isn’t a mobile optimised one, and so it looks like this on the phone:

This means that users need to zoom in and out to make sense of the checkout forms and to actually make a purchase. It’s not impossible, but it means that shoppers have to do a fair bit of work. 

It isn’t helped by a compulsory registration form, which just makes it even harder to complete the purchase:


The app looks really good, and is well-designed in general. By limiting the scope of the app, the navigation has been kept simple, while the store finder is an excellent resource.

Where it fails slightly is on the checkout process. It may be that designing a dedicated mobile checkout for this app was either seen as too costly, or too time consuming, but if House of Fraser wants to encourage more people to buy direct from this or any future apps, it needs to be made easier to negotiate on a mobile.

The Net-A-Porter and Barnes & Noble apps provide excellent examples of mobile checkouts; you need to keep form filling to a minimum, and make all the form details easy to read.