Mobile score 15/25
First Impressions 4/5
M&S must be credited as one of the first major retailers to pioneer mobile. But the world of mobile moves fast, and every retailer worth its salt has now developed a mobile proposition. So how does its new mobile site, which launched in February, measure up?
First impressions on my iPhone are positive. The homepage is simple and inviting. Image quality is excellent, which captured my attention and encouraged me to click to look further at products and sections. Large tile icons for the main shopping categories make it easier for users to navigate around the site – particularly for those M&S customers whose sight isn’t as good as it once was!
On my iPad, the site feels really current and of the moment. The style and living section, which is not on mobile, gives the website an editorial feel. Articles about latest trends and exciting new products are updated daily, which makes this section of the site appeal to the fashion conscious.
At the top of the homepage on mobile and tablet, M&S highlights three key shopping areas – back to school, work clothes and wedding and occasion wear. Users can click to shop these collections with one click. The icons approach makes it quick and easy to shop other departments which is a major improvement on the old site. This looks and feels like a native app which gives the impression of a quality mobile experience.
No surprise to see ‘Offers’ featuring prominently to appeal to deal hungry shoppers who have so many low cost alternatives.
Areas to improve
I’d be more likely to complete purchases of non-essential items if M&S improved the ‘save for later’ option. Currently shoppers can only save items once they have been added to the basket. Retailers including ASOS offer a button, which allows users to like and save items without navigating away from the page they’re on. This makes it easier to keep track of things you like but don’t necessarily want to add straight into your basket.
Search & Navigation 4/5
When searching for the website on my mobile the search result includes deep- links to relevant landing pages so I don’t have to go through the homepage to find what I’m looking for. This is sure to be rewarded by higher conversion – both by mobile shoppers who have limited time while out of home, or those wanting to buy the product they’ve just seen in the TV ad on their mobile or tablet.
The filter and search options work really well on both mobile and tablet. When shopping for shoes, users can search for a particular style. They can then filter this with a variety of options such as colour or heel height. This search can then be sorted by price, most popular and many other options. This approach helps to narrow down searches and ultimately find what you want quickly and easily.
With top down navigation it is easy to scroll through the products. Users are also able to choose size when browsing, allowing their preferences to dictate the products they browse.
Another feature – ‘tap to go to the top of the page’ – is another useful addition, which saves scrolling back through the products they’ve just looked at.
Areas to improve
Here’s a challenge for the UX team …. the site only loads 36 items at a time, so if your search is large, loading a new page every 36 items can be irritating particularly if you’re not on WiFi. The browsing experience is better on tablet with more options on how you can view your search results.
Categories & Products 3/5
Products are all photographed from multiple angles. The tap to zoom feature for tablet users works well. Tablet users also have the option to watch videos of some of the products, which download quickly.
On mobile, the use of expendables works well in putting the user in control of the shopping experience – instead of being bombarded with too much product information initially, this approach allows users to click for more information on the products they’re interested in.
Research shows that around 40% of M&S customers shop for outfits rather than single items. M&S does a good job catering for these shoppers through ‘styled galleries’, which let you shop outfits for a variety of different occasion, and to shop via ‘trends’. An enhanced feature on tablet allows users to shop items of clothing that go well with that piece with a shop the outfit option.
Areas to improve
The tablet experience is noticeably better than the mobile one. Three points here:
1. The size guides are ‘coming soon’ on mobile where this is fully functional on tablet. This is an important part of the purchasing experience and may discourage customers from adding items to their basket when shopping on a mobile device.
2. When shopping for clothing the ‘why not try’ section is a great way for encouraging customers to look at other products which they may not have seen. One improvement M&S could easily make would be to add this section to other categories on their website. For example, when my daughter added a shampoo into the basket, M&S missed a trick by not recommending the corresponding conditioner. She had to go back to the search bar and find it manually.
3. The tap to zoom option is a useful addition in theory but currently the quality of most of the images on mobile isn’t quite good enough for it to be that useful.
Payment Process & Checkout 1/5
Registering and creating an account was straight forward and a relatively quick process.
I’ve been an M&S mobile user for many years, and receive their weekly product and offer information via SMS. Interestingly, when new users sign up on mobile, entering a mobile number is optional. The contacts I’ve spoken to whilst preparing this review have all inserted their mobile numbers but have only received information via email to date.
The click and collect option works well on mobile, picking up my current location or chosen address within seconds, and showing my nearest stores on a map and also in a list format. Users are also able to save a store as a default store to make future payments quicker.
Areas to improve
When it came to actually purchasing products on my mobile I ran into some difficulties. After adding an item to my basket, when I went to check out the item was no longer in my basket. This was frustrating. When I tried again it did work and I was directed straight to the check out page. User error? I’m afraid not, and I’m not alone in encountering problems with check out.
This unreliability in the payment process is worrying. If I was not a loyal M&S customer, I would have abandoned my basket and not bothered to order goods as it became a hassle and detracted from the mobile experience.
On another point, there is no option for a guest checkout, but because registration was easy enough, this one is marginal.
Post Purchase 3/25
Having just completed my first mobile purchase on the new site I can’t comment on the post purchase experience. But my expectations are good, based on my impressions of M&S’s social media presence.
M&S is active across most social media channels which link to their site. With 1.8 million likes on Facebook, their page is a great place to showcase, new products, latest styles and trends. The tone of the posts is often light hearted and customers are engaging with this by liking and sharing. Their twitter is similar but it is also very reactive to customer contact, replying to feedback directly.
The site provides the high standards of user experience I would expect from M&S, particularly around search and navigation, with an excellent use of filter options for easy browsing of an extensive product range.
The browsing experience is significantly better on tablet than on mobile – where high quality images come into their own, and the style and living section gives the site an editorial feel.
No doubt the teething problems on the mobile site and the check out glitches are being addressed to bring the mobile site up to scratch.