Shoe retailer Schuh has just released an iPhone app which allows customers to shop from their mobiles, as well as finding their local store. 

At first glance, the app looks promising, so how does it perform, and can users easily make a purchase from the app? 

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Homepage and navigation

Schuh has opted for a simple approach on the homepage (above), and throughout the app. Just a logo and four navigation options. 

Click on shop and you'll get this menu:

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You can shop from Schuh's entire product range through the app, which of course means that there should be filtering options to allow users to narrow the search. 

The refine options are comprehensive enough to narrow the scope of the product search, and the number of matching products are shown next to each filter, making it easy to avoid returning no results at all. 

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Product pages

One thing Schuh does very well online is product images, and the retailer has managed to translate this well to its mobile app. Users can see multiple images, showing shoes from various angles. 

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There are also some more product details available, while the addition of product reviews is always welcome. However, the product pages are lacking details on delivery, meaning that shoppers have to enter the checkout process to find this information. 

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Checkout process

The success of a mobile commerce site or app can have a lot to do with the smoothness of the payment process.

Users are often in areas where 3G connection can be slow or coverage is inconsistent, so minimising the number of steps in the checkout process is important. 

Schuh makes it compulsory to login or register before entering the checkout. While this is fine if you have an account already, it means much more work than is necessary for new customers.

They have a further two pages to go through to complete their registration before they can enter address and payment details. A guest checkout option would remove this potential barrier to purchase. 

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Store finder

The store finder tool is good, and returned results very quickly for me, even on a 3G connection. I have a slight issue with the results screen (shown below) as it doesn't make it clear the step that users need to take to pull up further information about the store. 

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This can be done by clicking the store logo, but perhaps this should be made more obvious. 

One feature I liked was the ability to check stock at the local Schuh outlet via the store finder tool. This makes it a more useful for offline shopping, though it would be useful to link to this tool direct from product or search results pages. 

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It isn't possible to reserve stock through the app, but Schuh does provide a telephone contact option for doing this. 

Conclusion

In general, the app is well designed, and the overall simplicity of the app makes it easy to use. 

However, I would like to see Schuh, as well as other retailers with mobile sites and apps, consider removing the barrier of registration before customers enter the checkout process. 

Graham Charlton

Published 11 March, 2011 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (2)

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Wayne Bowman

Nice, uncomplicated design. Reserve, buy, browse, and find a store.

No more, no less. Good job.

about 7 years ago

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Natasha

I agree in part with the statement about removing the barrier of registration, it is a usability no-no and can have negative impact on conversion rates particularly when it is slotted in before the checkout process (this is a hot-lead you wouldn't tell them to fill out a form at the till in a shop!)

However there is a long-term argument for encouraging registering of app users (where the company owns the information not Apple via iTunes). This information is obviously important from a marketing analytics perspective, if the user opts in for information the app is a great tool through which to hold dialogue. Taking this customer-centric focus forward the development of technologies like NFC (near-field-communication) can alert registered users via their app when they are near a store or / and what offers are available.

With the plethora of gateways online as a consumer it is frustrating to fill out another registration form, however with an app they have already chosen and acquired it (free or not) and are therefore engaged to build in a step when they first open the app which asks for some basic information and opt-in choices is a good way of opening up that channel for dialogue with engaged consumers moving forwards.

about 7 years ago

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