With 60% of Selfridges’ online customers accessing the site from mobile, it was only a matter of time before the department store decided to launch a shoppable app.
And what do you know… it’s only gone and done it.
Sleek and social media friendly, it’s designed to be your very own ‘pocket-sized Selfridges’, promising to deliver everything customers know and love about the shopping experience – complete with a bunch of extra features.
So, does it live up to the hype?
Here are my initial thoughts on the iOS app…
If you’re familiar with Selfridges.com, you’ll already recognise most of the features promoted on the app homepage.
Including a carousel with four separate screens, it mainly showcases features pulled from the site’s ‘Inspiration’ section.
With a mix of magazine content, straight-forward edits, and brand promotion – first impressions are definitely appealing.
As a first-time user, I was immediately drawn to the empty ‘My Favourites’ tab just below the header.
Its positioning clearly highlights the app’s focus on personalisation (of which I will come to next).
With just two sections at the bottom – an Instagram feed and store events info – the homepage doesn’t feel all that extensive, but it still offers the user a good indication of what the rest of the app content could offer.
With the intent of delivering ‘personalised style inspiration’, the tailor-made aspect of the Selfridges app is one of its biggest selling points.
Prompting the user to set up a favourites list, it curates a selection of custom-picked products based on whatever is chosen.
When choosing my own favourites, I found the category selection fairly straight-forward – Women, Beauty, Home, and Food were obvious choices.
However, as somebody who does not usually shop in Selfridges, when it came to brands, the sheer amount listed proved to be a bit of a head-scratcher.
With just a few well-known names standing out, I found myself asking whether Reebok was actually a favourite of mine – or whether it was simply one of the names I recognised the most.
Of course, greater consumer choice is never a bad thing, but this immediately proves that the app is a little more suited to those who regularly shop in Selfridges.
For new customers who might not necessarily know the various brands on offer, personalised features like the favourites list won’t resonate.
Similarly, the ability to sync your online and app accounts is convenient, but only really necessary for regular shoppers.
Providing general information about locations, restaurants and other services, the ‘stores’ tab is also somewhat limited in content (as there are only four stores in the UK).
However, it is still informative, and cleverly showcases Selfridges’ innovative events.
Social media integration
Integrating an Instagram feed into an app is always a popular option, however Selfridges is claiming to go one step further by making it shoppable.
I found this feature to be pretty misleading.
From what I could gather, instead of allowing the user to click through to a specific product from an Instagram photo, it works by simply having an ‘Instagram shop’ that includes a number of products that happen to feature in the brand’s feed.
So, say you’ve just seen a dress you really like the look of in an Instagram photo. Instead of being able to directly click through and shop, you’ll have to instead click out and then search through a separate feed to find it.
This is a baffling and seemingly time-wasting feature.
Search, shop and general usability
The aforementioned features aside, I found the most under-hyped and basic functions to be the best aspects of the Selfridges app.
In short – the ability to search and shop without having the visit the website.
The search function is straightforward and incredibly easy-to-use. Allowing the user to easily filter and sort, it is perfectly proficient – a basic search for ‘scarf’ brought up the exact same results as it did on its main website.
The in-app product pages and checkout appear to be just as good.
High quality and multi-angle imagery allow the user to view each product in detail, meaning that the mobile shopping experience offers just as much insight as desktop.
Similarly, the checkout experience is pretty quick and painless.
I didn’t actually buy the pair of Lacoste trainers I was lusting after, but having registered as a new user within a couple of minutes (or less) – the rapid checkout process means I came dangerously close.
It could definitely do with a few tweaks, but overall, the Selfridges app is well-executed.
The ‘shoppable’ Instagram feature should definitely be improved or scrapped, but the curated edits and magazine content allows for an enjoyable user experience.
Similarly, while personalisation and store alerts might prove neither here nor there for new customers, if in-app shopping is the consumer’s main motivation for downloading, it won’t disappoint.
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