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Retail Review – Rob Thurner, Managing Partner, Burner Mobile – Score 13/25 (IRM50)

First Impressions (4/5)

Mobile now accounts for a whopping 40% of all Topshop’s online traffic. Their core audience – girls in their teens to late twenties – are highly demanding, tech savvy, influenced by reviews before buying and quick to share what they like / dislike with their networks. My teenage daughter and her pals – all regular Topshop customers – brought a fascinating perspective to this site review.

No surprise to see the High Street giant launch its new site ahead of the peak sales season. This is Topshop’s third platform change in the past three years, and replaces the antiquated screen scraping protocol which so many retailers adopted when they launched their first generation mobile commerce sites.

The homepage features beautifully choreographed shots inviting browsers to ‘shop mini skirts’, ‘shop military’, ‘shop the gift guide’. This is a confident site, boasting great product shots and good page load speed. Let’s see more.


Search & Navigation (1/5)

The key navigation tool is accessed from the ‘staircase’ icon which sits top left of the home screen. The menu list is very extensive, including expandable menus for the expected list of sections: New In, Clothing, Shoes, Bags & Accessories, Beauty, Find a Store, Sign in or register, My Account, Delivery, Returns. Also … Sale, The Magazine – updated weekly with key fashion stories, Size Guide & Washcare.

The navigation bar includes a healthy mix of product and service info, which works just fine on a PC, but there’s too much to display on a mobile screen. It’s acceptable on tablet. The menu options cannot be reduced or removed which seriously compromises the search and navigation experience.

On a more positive note, there are two great navigation features.

I really like the options to view 1 product, 4 products or 9 products on a single screen. Likewise for the ‘Refine’ feature which lets shoppers search Newest, Price – Low to High, Price High to Low and Rating – Descending.

Click ‘Join in the conversation’ and you’ll spot the ‘Social slider’ tool which gets the big thumbs up from the girls – allowing them to scroll between Topshop’s feeds for

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (3.4 million followers) and Pinterest.

Areas to improve

The navigation tool really should be simplified to make this key function easier. The menu list is not only very long. It’s also very unexciting. Long lists of small black text out of white doesn’t cut it for young shoppers. What about adding some colour, and using icons to create more visual excitement?

There’s a trade off here – minimizing page load times vs creating a fun search experience. I reckon Topshop should reconsider the balance.

I’d also like to see a ‘Topshop’ or ‘Home’ button on the screen at all times to create a much needed easy return path to the homepage.


Products & Categories (3/5)

The site experience gets a whole lot better in the product pages. Excellent photography. I like the ‘double tap for large view’ magnifier function for shoppers with only one hand free to navigate the site. I like the ‘Refine by’ options. And stock availability info.

Topshop’s target audience are highly influenced by views of other shoppers and opinion formers. So it’s great to see ratings and reviews taking centre stage on the product pages. And styling tips by Topshop Personal Shopper Lauren Douglas.

Topshop is more than a shop … its ‘3 ways AM – PM’ video helps today’s time-short shoppers “transition from day to night with lightning-quick outfit tweaks”. Not sure why the video doesn’t load – I’m on WiFi on an iPhone6.

Nice touch to show the item, then click the left and right arrows to see the model wearing the jumpsuit, vest, shoes etc, and matching accessories.

Good to see the prominent SHARE button top right of screen to reveal Facebook, Twitter, g+, Pinterest, Tumblr links. Why not add email?

Save for Later is a great idea for those who can’t afford to buy everything they like. Topshop could then email or SMS them when these items go on sale, as a surprise birthday present or to build loyalty.

Areas to improve

I think there’s potential to do more around product suggestions and recommendations – both from Topshop and from other shoppers. Think Amazon … you bought product x, how about product y’? Or other shoppers who bought x also bought y.

I didn’t spot too many reviews on the site. I did spot the ‘Why not try?’ feature –in uninspiring small black text – on each product page, but the products included could include complementary product ideas (i.e. shoes to match trousers, not just more trousers).

Given my earlier misgivings about navigation, how about a prominent Save for Later icon?


Payment process & Check out (2/5)

The new site provides a one step process for existing customers requiring just their ‘confirmation to pay’ and a simple three step process for new visitors Delivery, Billing, Confirm.

Once in the check out, I like the horizontal bar at the top of the page highlighting each step in the 3 step process. The process was pretty quick and easy.

Areas to improve

Of course there’s a slight delay while the payment engine verifies my delivery and payment details. In the absence of an icon showing my data input is being processed I’m not sure what’s happening …. my screen goes slightly screen grey for a while. This could be depicted graphically (hour glass or equivalent).

I opted to collect my daughters’ new purchases from our local store to save on delivery cost. Regardless, I had to complete delivery details. Odd. This info could have been pre-populated as I submitted my personal details when registering as a new user.


Post purchase (3/5)

The confirmation email came immediately, explaining that I will get two further emails – the first when my products have been despatched to the store, the second when they are ready for collection.

The email also includes (high resolution) photos of the products, and links to my site to get me back to shopping.

Areas to improve

Nothing to note.

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