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Bookseller Waterstone's launched a mobile commerce iPhone app last month, which allows users to browse and buy, as well as finding their nearest store. 

I've been seeing how well the app performs...

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Homepage and navigation

The homepage is simple enough, with clear navigation options, while the link to the nearest Waterstone's store at the foot of the page is a useful feature. At the bottom of the app, links to site search, store finder, help and account information is provided. 

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The site search works well, which is handy, since browsing for a particular book by genre is not as easy as it could be. For example, you can navigate to the history section, but once you are there a lot of results and no filtering options to narrow the search. 

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Product pages

The product pages on the app are well designed, with a nice clear call to action

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A synopsis of the book is provided, along with customer reviews, though no information on delivery charges or returns has been provided.

The delivery costs are shown on the shopping basket screen, but no explanation of delivery times is provided. If customers are going to pay £4.95 for the courier option, they might like to know how fast this delivery will be. 

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Checkout process

The checkout has been optimised for mobile and is easy enough to navigate and fill in details. There are some potential annoyances for users though. 

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First, it's necessary to register and create an account to shop on the app. Though many people who download the app may already have accounts with Waterstone's, it could be made easier for new customers to make purchases. 

Secondly, the app is too strict on postcode validation, while will annoy some users. Postcodes have to be entered with a space in the middle, or else the app produces an error message. Letting people enter postcodes without spaces will reduce the potential for customer frustration and make it less likely that they will abandon purchases. 

The same applies to creating passwords. Passwords need to contain at least one number and one letter and be at least seven characters long, but this is not explained on the form, meaning many users are likely to see this message: 

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Conclusion

The Waterstone's app looks good and generally works well, though there are a few things which could be improved. 

By providing more filtering options, Waterstone's could make it easier for customers to browse through products and narrow search results, while a smoother checkout process would improve conversion rates. 

Graham Charlton

Published 28 October, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

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Omar Musa

Nice app, with good UX. The only thing I would have done differently is making the main call to actions, like 'Add to basket' & 'Checkout' a different colour. Maybe green.

about 6 years ago

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The Northern Boys Club

@omar musa - What's the thinking behind changing the colour? I understand that green might give a subconscious 'go' factor, but the red has as urgency about it that probably works too??

What do you think?

almost 6 years ago

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