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This time last year, our own Ben Davis reviewed Hyatt’s multichannel web presence taking in everything from its desktop site, social channels and mobile apps.
Ben found its digital presence didn’t really mark the luxury hotel chain out from its competitors, but instead provided reliable, easy-to-use functionality, nothing more and nothing less.
Hyatt has just announced the launch of revamped mobile app and mobile site with many new features, so now seems like the perfect opportunity to revisit the brand’s small screen concerns.
Here at Econsultancy we’ve written a lot about how multichannel retailers can use mobile apps to enhance the customer experience.
Today I thought I’d point the spotlight on Body Shop, which updated its iPhone app in August but has yet to launch an Android version.
The app is marketed in-store and offers several multichannel tools, such as a store locator and barcode scanner.
So I borrowed my colleague’s iPhone and took Body Shop’s app for a spin...
Picking which online supermarket you prefer to park your trolley in can be based on little more than which supermarket you regularly visit in the real world.
It’s the one you’re used to, the one you’ve got a loyalty card with, it’s also probably the one that’s closest to your home.
We sometimes forget that we needn’t be beholden to such boundaries when we’re shopping online for groceries. We have the whole of the nation’s biggest food retailers to choose from and each has their own particular conveniences.
You’re decision on which ecommerce store to shop with may purely come down to which offers the cheapest products, reasonable delivery charges and the availability of a convenient delivery window.
However if all these things are moot, it may also come down to which offers the best user experience.
This post is not meant to definitively suggest which supermarket out of Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose or Morrisons is the best, it’s just meant to highlight various UX features and tools that make for a great customer experience, features that other ecommerce site designers could learn from.
Some of the best web and mobile app designs have a very limited colour range. Two or three colours can be more than enough, and I find that a restrained approach to colour works especially well on de-cluttered interfaces.
The use of colour in design is a bit like great music, where balance, contrast, restraint and dissonance all come into play. I picked out monochrome and hypercolour as two of my 18 web design trends for 2014, but perhaps trichromatic design is where it's really at?
For trichromatic design it is often the case that there is a 'main' colour, an 'active' colour, and a 'highlight' colour. A limited palette goes further when you reverse out the colours in certain areas (menus, or buttons, for example).
I wanted to highlight some examples of mobile interfaces that primarily focus on two or three colours, along with plenty of white (or otherwise neutral) space, and a lack of unnecessary clutter. In other words: minimal design. Less is more.
So let's take a look at a few examples. I don't claim to have used all of these apps and sites, and one or two are concepts, so the focus here is on the look and feel, rather than the user experience. Click on the images to see more in-depth or full size screenshots.
Retailer loyalty programs are nothing new, however mobile technologies have changed consumer expectations of how and when they should be able to access their account information.
Loyalty schemes still largely work off plastic cards but there’s huge potential for allowing customers to manage and redeem their points using a smartphone app.
The benefits of loyalty apps are clear, as it allows customers to more easily manage their points and means that retailers can target people with offers and discounts.
And a new survey shows that retailers should certainly be thinking about moving in this direction, as a third (31%) of Australian loyalty scheme members want both a card and a mobile app.
Last week New Look announced a 79% increase in online sales in the three months leading up to June.
Ecommerce currently accounts for 10% of New Look's overall revenue, but that figure could well increase if online sales continue to show such strong growth.
The increase in online sales is attributed to a number of factors, including a revamped website, upgrades to its iPhone app and an expanded click-and-collect service.
Such a massive boost in sales is obviously worth investigating, so here's a roundup of some of the factors that New Look gets right on its desktop and mobile platforms. And I've also flagged up a few areas that could potentially be improved on.
Last week I wrote an article that asked whether Argos is doing enough to integrate digital technologies into its print catalogue.
The retailer has a number of QR codes dotted throughout the magazine as well as ads for its click-and-collect service, but I felt that it could do more to embed extra content within its pages.
As it turns out, Argos has actually been trialling an interactive catalogue in the north east of England that uses Blippar’s augmented reality technology.
Argos was nice enough to send me a copy of its special edition, so here’s a look at how the technology works...
When researching their next holiday or business trip consumers are just as likely to turn to their mobile device as they are to use a laptop, according to new research from JiWire.
However laptops are still by far the most popular device when it comes to actually making a purchase.
The new report into mobile’s role in the travel industry shows that 56% of consumers use their laptop to research travel options, compared to 49% on tablet and 48% on smartphone.
This underlines the fact that travel agents and hotels need to have a mobile optimised site or app to cater for changing consumer behaviours.
The consumer shift to using mobile devices has been one of the most important trends for businesses to get to grips with in recent years and it proved to be a popular topic at Econsultancy’s Digital Cream London event.
Alongside details of the trends that emerged from the event, the briefing includes best practice tips, case studies and market data.
A separate report highlighted the scale of the challenge facing businesses, as despite the massive growth in mobile traffic almost half (45%) of companies still don’t have a mobile-optimised site or app.
Premier Inn recently unveiled a new iPad app alongside a revamped iPhone version as it seeks to increase mobile sales and repeat bookings.
The hotel chain took more than 100,000 bookings through its iPhone app in 2012 and the updated version has already seen average daily sales conversions increase from 3% to 5.9%.
Designed by Grapple, the new apps feature improved navigation, redesigned booking function, Trip Advisor ratings, the ability to add extras such as breakfast, and a simplified process for booking repeat stays.
The iPhone app has been downloaded more than two million times since it was first launched in January 2011, so to find out what the fuss is about I tried out the new iPad version...
H&M first launched its mobile app way back in 2010, however up until January this year you couldn’t actually use it to make a purchase.
Most major retail apps are transactional these days so it’s surprising that H&M has taken this long to make the upgrade, particularly as research shows that a majority of consumers expect to be able to make purchases using retail apps.
Now it just so happens that I’m on the look out for new some jeans, so I thought it was the perfect chance to see how easy it is to buy something using H&M’s Android app...