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New mobile sites are normally a big deal for ecommerce retailers, but ASOS recently updated its m-commerce store without the need for any fanfare.

I can’t find any official announcements about the redesign other than a tweet from director James Hart.

ASOS has been one of the major success stories in ecommerce and we frequently highlight its services and innovations as examples of industry best practice.

And as we previously reviewed the company’s first mobile site back in 2010 it seems a good time to revisit the site and see how it’s changed, so I took it for a test run using my Samsung Galaxy S2...

Homepage and navigation

Rather than immediately listing the product categories, ASOS’s homepage hits you with the site’s current promotions, which currently include a 70% sale, shorts from £18 and a new range of sharp suits.

It’s interesting to note that the desktop site only displays the 70% sale banner, whereas the designers have opted for four different promos on the mobile site.

                      

The product categories and search function are accessible via the list button in the top left of the screen, which is fairly standard practice for many mobile sites and apps.

Annoyingly though, if you try to navigate around the product categories by using the back button on your handset then it boots you off the site altogether or back to the homepage.

For example, if you’re browsing shirts in the sale and choose to refine the results, then subsequently click the back button on your handset to return to the results screen, the mobile site sends you all the way back to the homepage despite the fact that you had to navigate through three separate screens to get to the ‘refine results’ page.

Personally I find that to be a fairly major UX flaw as I’m used to navigating using the back button, though I appreciate that not every user will be the same.

Another issue is the little star buttons that allow you to save items to a personal shopping list. Not only are they too small for a mobile screen, but once you’ve clicked a button you can’t then unselect it without navigating to your saved items and removing it there.

                      

These quibbles aside, the product lists look great and the images really stand out against the plain white background. You can also choose between a single or double column view depending on your preference.

Product pages

The mobile product pages are a stripped down version of the desktop version, with any superfluous information either removed or hidden.

Gone are the universal product videos and ‘Free delivery and returns’ banner, while product and shipping information is accessible by clicking an additional link.

The size of the CTAs has also increased, which is a definite improvement as they were tiny on the previous iteration.

Overall the new pages are definitely an upgrade on the old version, however I did feel that the product images took slightly too long to load and some of the buttons are too close together so it’s quite easy to press the wrong one by accident.

Product information & 'Add to bag' CTA on new site vs. old site

                             

At the shopping basket screen you see a decent summary including an image, cost and the size, and at the bottom of the screen in tiny font it alerts you to the fact that you get free delivery.

All the buttons and instructions in this process are a bit small, even taking into account the limited screen size. The CTAs are small and fiddly, and it’s easy to miss the note about free delivery.

                      

One of ASOS’s main selling points is its free delivery and returns offer, and it’s rightfully plastered all over its desktop site. However it’s barely mentioned on the mobile version, which I feel is missing a trick.

Checkout

We’ve praised ASOS’s checkout design on numerous occasions due to its cunning method of getting customers to create an account without even realising it.

When ASOS first removed the mention of registering an account it resulted in a 50% decrease in abandonment at this stage of the checkout process.

                      

But while that strategy obviously works on desktop I feel that the mobile checkout is still to long for new customers. It requires you to enter an email and password twice, and also asks for your gender and date of birth.

Furthermore, though there are strict password criteria it doesn’t stipulate them in advance which can lead to you having to re-enter the same information twice.

On the plus side, it does offer a postcode lookup tool and allows you to set the same address for billing and delivery.

                      

Also, it accepts nine different payment methods including PayPal, which is a great way of capturing mobile sales from people who aren’t keen on entering their credit card details on their phone.

All these details are then saved for future use, so repeat purchases involve far less form-filling. 

In conclusion...

ASOS’s new mobile site is an improvement on the old version, but I don’t feel it matches the high standards the company has set with its desktop site.

My main issue is with the navigation, which is inconsistent and often feels quite clunky. Sometimes the back button on the handset does what you’d expect and others it unexpectedly boots you back to the homepage, while swiping between images on the product pages isn’t particularly smooth.

Furthermore though some of the CTAs have increased in size, in general they are still quite small and fiddly which adds to the problems with navigation.

This is particularly true at the shopping basket, but also affects the product and category pages.

Overall then, though it is an above average mobile site I can’t help but feel that it’s a slight disappointment based on the high benchmark that ASOS has set for itself.

David Moth

Published 22 April, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1684 more posts from this author

Comments (4)

Seema Kumari

Seema Kumari, Head of Digital Marketing at Hearst Magazines

Great post David, I agree with all your comments, especially about the CTA's being too small and close together. They seem to have removed the page numbers as well and replaced it with the words "load more" which I'm not a great fan of. I prefer the option to show a fixed quantity on the page like their desktop site.

over 3 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Dave again

Interesting stuff. While your niggles with the site all seem valid, I think 'usable but unspectacular' is a noble aim, and a result I'd be happy with. 'Look at our fancy new website' announcements are always slightly embarrassing, and I think ASOS are right to focus their energies on what the site is for - selling clothes.

over 3 years ago

Pete Williams

Pete Williams, Managing Director at Gibe Digital

It's interesting to see that there is clearly two different audiences for brands such as Asos one which is more comfortable in apps and another that wants an optimised browsing experience. Asos launched their I-phone app back in Nov 2012 however haven't followed it up with an Android or Windows version. I think this might be indicative of a general move away from apps for m-commerce and a reliance on faster browsing.
It's also interesting to note that they are still investing money in mobile specific sites rather than a responsive site re-build. The skills to produce great responsive ecommerce sites are out there and surely make more financial sense in the medium to long term? I can see however that the push for sale items indicates they are aware of showrooming and want to convince users to compare they're prices with those on the high street.This takes some well thought out responsive content which is always worth planning in your responsive build.

If anyone wants to know how the mobile-site compares to the app take a look at our review at www.gibedigital.com/blog/user-friendly-splurge-worthy-app-leading-online-fashion-retailer-asos

over 3 years ago

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