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Net-A-Porter has unveiled a new iPad app to add to its existing catalogue of iOS and Android apps.
The luxury shopping brand was one of the first to see the potential of mobile, launching an iPhone app in 2009 and a weekly magazine iPad app in 2010. Across the board the Net-A-Porter apps have been downloaded more than 975,000 times.
Its new release, which will sit alongside the existing iPad app in the App Store, displays editorial and video content as well as allowing users to shop the entire Net-A-Porter product range.
The idea is to cater for iPad owners who use their device during their leisure time at home, so it is as much about providing fashion news and entertainment as it is about selling products.
With this in mind, I tried out the app to see if the fashion brand had managed to cater for the ‘lean back’ iPad experience...
The idea behind the app is to help users fill their leisure time so the homepage focuses as much on entertainment as it does on shopping.
It contains links to fashion content that is updated on a daily basis as well as Net-A-Porter’s ‘What’s New’ section, which is the most popular section on the website.
The articles give fashion advice and tips as well as a link to buy the items on show.
Links to other sections are presented in a dropdown list that can be accessed by clicking on an icon in the top left of the screen.
Net-A-Porter’s in-house team has done a lot of user testing and the result is a homepage that's very intuitive and simple to navigate.
One of the coolest features within the app is the TV section which includes video content from fashion shows, features on famous stylists and designers, and information on new trends.
The videos look great on the iPad screen and are perfect for tablet users who are looking for inspiration and entertainment while shopping.
Each one has a call-to-action that links to a list of the products displayed in the videos, which is a great way to inspire shoppers and draw a direct link between entertainment and shopping.
Net-A-Porter’s app uses high quality images on a white background which makes it extremely easy to browse product options.
When you first enter a product category there doesn’t seem to be any particular order to the way the items are laid out, but it is easy to refine the items by category, designer, colour or size.
The product pages are also well-designed, with a simple, uncluttered layout that makes it easy to find the information you need. Each one contains several product images as well as links to other products by the same designer.
The ‘Add to shopping bag’ call-to-action stands out against the other options and is always on-screen as you scroll through the product details.
This leaves the user in no doubt of what their next step should be and will ensure Net-A-Porter maximises its sales through the app.
The shopping bag and checkout
A link to the shopping bag is constantly present at the top of the screen and users can remove items without navigating away from the page they are currently reading.
This is another nice touch that adds to the overall user experience.
The checkout process is quite frustrating for new users however as you are asked to enter your email address twice on consecutive pages.
Furthermore, once I had created an account it didn’t automatically direct me to the checkout but instead presented me with a load of different account options, such as ‘Order history’ and ‘Manage preferences’.
To get to the checkout I had to navigate back to the product page then click on the checkout again to login with my new account details.
It is then not until after you have entered your home address that you get hit with the shipping costs. The only option is £5 express delivery that takes two to three working days.
Hiding the shipping costs until so late in the purchase journey has been shown to cause a high number of basket abandonments and Net-A-Porter should think about being more upfront with this information.
The final screen is an order summary that lays out all the product options before taking payment, which can be done with all major credit cards.
Overall Net-A-Porter has created a fantastic app that is great for browsing fashion content as well as shopping. The interface is extremely intuitive and easy-to-use, and product images look great on the iPad screen.
But while browsing products is extremely easy and fun, there are a few issues with the checkout process.
Creating an account was more difficult than it should be and the text boxes were quite small and fiddly, which you don’t expect on an iPad.
Similarly the shipping costs are quite high and aren’t added on to the total cost until the last minute.
These issues are largely overcome once the user has created an account as the app stores all the payment and shipping information, but it is still quite frustrating as a new customer.
But as mentioned, overall the app is fun to use and should find a decent audience among iPad users looking for fashion apps to fill their leisure time.