Here at Econsultancy we’ve written a lot about how multichannel retailers can use mobile apps to enhance the customer experience.
Today I thought I’d point the spotlight on Body Shop, which updated its iPhone app in August but has yet to launch an Android version.
The app is marketed in-store and offers several multichannel tools, such as a store locator and barcode scanner.
So I borrowed my colleague’s iPhone and took Body Shop’s app for a spin…
The app’s main functions include an online shop, store locator, wishlist and a barcode scanner for use in-store, but there are a number of other useful tools.
On the homepage users can navigate to Body Shop TV, the Beauty Hub, blog, or book a Body Shop party.
Some of these features sit within the app while others pop up in a web browser. This creates a disjointed user experience, so ideally they should all load within the app.
Even so, it means the app gives access to a broad range of content and gives several reasons for repeat usage.
Browsing Body Shop’s range of products is quick and simple, with clear category options and images for each listing.
The search tool would benefit from an upgrade, however, for these reasons:
- The search bar is tiny. So small in fact that on several occasions the app wouldn’t let me select it.
- Predictive search is too slow.
- The search results miss some obvious products (e.g. a search for ‘lipstick’ returned no results).
Store locator tool
A decent mobile store locator tool is hugely important for multichannel retailers as shoppers need a convenient way to find their nearest outlet.
In fact, Schuh’s deputy head of ecommerce recently commented that the company proportionally gets 50% more visits to its store pages via mobile than from desktop.
Body Shop’s store locator tool is excellent. It immediately pulls up an interactive map that shows your nearest stores, plus contact details and directions.
But while we’re on the topic of multichannel marketing, it’s worth pointing out that the QR codes advertising the app in-store link to a dead webpage.
The scanning function is quick to register barcodes, however I had to scan three different products before the app recognised one.
Product pages are quite sparse as all details and functionality are hidden within icons. It means the page is clean and uncluttered, but I was unsure at first what a few of the buttons actually did (the magic wand, for instance).
If you add an item to your basket then a ‘buy now’ CTA appears enabling shoppers to choose how many Aloe Calming Toners they wish to buy.
This stage could perhaps be improved, as if you click ‘buy now’ it just adds the product to your basket and stays on the product page.
I had assumed that ‘buy now’ would send me to the shopping basket, though that may just be me.
Shopping cart and checkout
The shopping cart gives a decent order summary and upfront delivery costs, which is important to hedge against basket abandonment.
I’m also a fan of the bright pink CTA although it could be slightly larger.
At the checkout new users are forced to register a new account. This is a fairly major barrier to purchase but is standard practice within apps as brands want to know who’s using them.
Body Shop requires all app users to login as part of its loyalty scheme, so you have to have a Love Your Body number of you can’t register on the app or make a purchase.
To become a member online, potential customers have to buy a £5 membership card. I can sort of see the logic behind this, but it means the app is of little use to casual shoppers.
Body Shop’s app looks great and generally offers a slick, intuitive user experience. It’s very easy to browse products or view the brand’s range of beauty content.
However there are several flaws that need to be fixed.
On several occasions the app couldn’t find product details for items that were listed in the online store, while the barcode scanner also failed to recognise several items.
Also, I would question the logic for preventing shoppers from buying products before they’ve paid £5 to join the membership scheme.
Though I understand that mobile apps work well when integrated with a loyalty scheme, charging people to make an initial purchase is a massive barrier to entry and will surely deter a lot of potential customers.