House of Fraser Review – Mobile score 17/25
First Impressions 3/5
House of Fraser’s mobile site is certainly not the most visually exciting retail site out there, but it’s very intuitive for touch screen users – who are clearly the majority of today’s mobile shoppers. Page load times are noticeably fast, even on 3G, which will surely to be rewarded with improved conversion rates.
I really rate the double tap feature to zoom images … particularly important when you’re in-store with the other hand carrying shopping bags or holding a coffee.
Good to see the call centre number displayed at all times making it easy for shoppers wanting product info or availability from a real person. In one click they can be get answers to queries without having to trawl through the site to find it.
House of Fraser clearly puts the customer first …. I suspect a serious commitment to understanding what shoppers want in focus groups, and significant user testing before the site was relaunched.
Areas to improve
I reckon the bar at the top which hosts the navigation tools is just too small for seasoned mobile shoppers and to customers new to mobile shopping with limited time on their hands. It could be easier to search and browse for a product. Both points would be resolved by making the top bar larger and more prominent on the homepage.
The store locator, also at the top of the homepage, is a must have for today’s mobile retail site – but it would be a better user experience for all “on the go” mobile shoppers to utilize location services and return the nearest store rather than expect the browser to insert a post code.
Search and Navigation 4/5
It’s clear that House of Fraser has brought the mindset of the shopper to the heart of the site architecture. The site uses three or four adaptive templates for different screen sizes – from TV to PC to tablet to smartphones – and overlays responsiveness within adaptive template. When the screen size exceeds each threshold, different templates are used dynamically.
When searching for products and navigating around the site there’s a real focus on speed. Pages load quickly, which provides a great browsing experience even when not connected to WiFi.
Search and navigation makes use of gesture functions – for example swiping across for menu reveals.
Searching for products is relatively easy. Top level search is by department or by brand. Once this is selected the search can be refined by various options. It takes a few more clicks to reach your desired item than other mobile sites I have used, but because the loading time is so quick this isn’t an issue.
The “infinite scroll” feature brings the site in line with the world’s most popular image based sites – like Instagram or Pinterest – rather than being confined to old school thinking about Above the Fold vs Below The Fold.
Areas to improve
To achieve quick loading time, it looks like House of Fraser has sacrificed image quality. This seems like a major concession, but when you click on a specific product to look at it in further detail, the image quality improves so this is not a huge issue.
Categories and products 4/5
The product listing section is good. I particularly like the way you can customize the way you want to browse for products – for example, in a list style or as thumbnails, with images only, with multiple products on one screen.
Whether searching for dresses, bikinis or kids’ shoes, scrolling is quick and easy through a variety of products, then double tapping – or pinching if you prefer – to take a closer look. The site provides clear instructions for viewing, whichever option you prefer. Customer first, again.
The template for product listing has been reduced from 4 across to 3 across, to allow bigger photos, improved image quality, whatever the screen size.
“Offers” are clearly highlighted with a box reading “offer” overlaid on the image of the product. Click on the box to read more information on the offer/rewards without navigating away from the page they are on.
Areas to improve
Personally, I’d prefer to see more design and use of icons to replace than lists of text for the small print on each product to denote Collect in store, Collect + delivery, International delivery … but that’s a minor issue.
Payment process & Check out 4/5
As soon as I add a product to your shopping basket I’m given the option to go straight to the checkout. For multiple purchases the UX is excellent – I can easily continue browsing, and easily access the shopping basket. Simply click on the basket icon and a separate window opens so I don’t have to navigate away from product pages. Nice. This makes it easy to monitor and edit what’s in the basket at any time.
The checkout process is quick and easy. The site lets me check out as a guest user, providing an option to signing in as a member on the site to make a purchase.
This is a smart bonus feature for shoppers who don’t want to register their details, as this can sometimes be a hassle. For regular shoppers, logging in as a member speeds up the purchasing process. Once again, the site focuses on speed and convenience by providing two fast checkout options to suit different customer needs.
I can choose to have orders delivered or have the option to click and collect.
Areas to improve
I haven’t seen the drop off rates in the check out area, or basket abandonment situation. I suspect room for improvement here, but House of Fraser may be the exception …
Post purchase 2/5
Too early to tell for me based on my site browsing experience, though I suspect House of Fraser’s customer research will deliver here.
Areas to improve
As is always the case, the mobile site really delivers when it serves a key part of a wider mobile customer journey. I picked up two points to focus on here.
First, after making a purchase on my phone, I was surprised to receive an email confirmation that wasn’t mobile optimized. A mobile optimized email would have been a nice touch to complete the mobile shopping experience. Having chosen the ‘click and collect’ option I’m still awaiting my text from House of Fraser to inform me when my product is available to collect.
Second, to improve impulse purchases, House of Fraser are missing a trick by not adding a location services feature to find mobile users’ nearest store. Instead shoppers have to manually type in the store they want to collect their shopping from. Once I had chosen the store one thing I thought was a great addition to the site was that it provided a map of where the store was located.
Rob Thurner, Managing Partner, Burn the Sky