As customers and retailers look across all touchpoints rather than siloed channels, so IR retailer reviews look at the entire retailer’s eco-systemof website, mobile, the use of digital in store and their overall strategy. This issue our reviewers examine Next.
RETAIL STRATEGY 20/25
Next is a retailer that genuinely has much to be boastful about. Results have always been strong, its operational underpinnings are robust, it has many great people and it delivers what the customer wants. In physical stores it continues to deliver a great experience (visit Longwater if you get the chance) and it makes bricks and mortar work better than most.
Questions can be asked though around just how digital Next is and whether the “new normal” in omnichannel is becoming part of its DNA – retaining a distinct Next Directory division separate from bricks & mortar is telling. It is undoubtedly clear though that in traditional retailing Next retains its strength and expertise and that for the big opportunities opening up globally, it is positioning itself well.
WEB EFFECTIVENESS 18/25
User Experience Analyst,
The Next site works hard at inspiring users to explore and discover product options through various starting points on the homepage and alternative navigation options. The integration of alternative options (catalogue vs online) however needs to be better managed as currently the content is easily confused on both mobile and desktop sites. In addition, catalogue content is peppered throughout the online journey, displaying stylized photographs of the product in a magazine format creating a somewhat disjointed journey and lacks key content information (price / availability). Such content should be less embedded into the main body of the site with more focus on communicating details of the product.
Burn The Sky
Next’s glossy printed catalogues are costly to produce and are out-dated in comparison to the mass reach of mobile commerce. There’s no surprise then to see Next adapting by investing in digital-first methods – notably its mobile website interface. There is also an app.
The mobile homepage has a clear interface with compelling editorial style. However, while this looks like a great piece of branded content, I can’t click on it to view the trend. It is clickable when m.next.co.uk is viewed through my mobile’s Safari tool – it would be great to have this on the app too. The search bar is prominent and I really like the two sticky nav bars on the top and bottom of the screen, as well as the Quickshop option. The Barcode Scanner within the ‘more’ section allows for quick and easy in-store product browsing. Navigation and filtering both work well and the check-out process is quick and easy which encourages return users.
INTERNET RETAILING IN STORE 14/25
Consultant, Kurt Salmon
A paradox of modern retailing is that the growth in online sales has come at a time when customers are expecting even more from their in-store shopping experience. However, the in-store experience on the high street is typically best described as a “let down” for many retailers and Next is no exception. Although it does have large screens advertising product there is no way for the customer to interact with these, nor do they have a way for Next to interact with customers via its app. Next is doing well as a conservative British retailer but with the right digital strategy it could increase its reach beyond its current demographic.