Some days, I work from home. On one of those days, my boss called me and told me that an important client was in town and wanted to meet me. ‘Sure,’ I said, ‘no problem.’ I don’t like to disappoint. There was a problem, though. All of my ‘meet important clients’ clothes (At that point in time I owned exactly two shirts and one skirt that fit into that category) were in the laundry. I dug them out, but they really couldn’t be worn. I chose the next best, which is ‘I could kind of get away with wearing this to work if no one’s looking’ clothes, and decided that I was going to buy something when I got to the place where we were meeting up. Fortunately, we were meeting up at a mall.
I hopped a train, and pulled out my trusty phone to look for stores at the mall. None of them had apps. A few had mobile web sites, but none of them were designed well, so I had to wander into the mall, look for a store that I usually have good luck with, try on some likely looking clothes, and hope for the best. The gods of fashion were shining down upon me, and the first outfit I tried on matched, fit, and was fully appropriate for meeting important clients in. It cost more than I’d hoped to spend, but you can’t win ’em all, right?
This brings me to the idea of apps for a clothing store. When you’re building an app, you have to think about your preferred use case. We talked about it last week. You’re not going to get many people who buy their full summer wardrobe on an Android app. What’s really likely is a shopper in another store who wants to see if you have a matching top to the bottom she’s seeing. You’re going to get someone on the street who sees a sweater and wants to see if the store carries that particular style. You’re going to get people who want to create an outfit quickly and easily.
Because of these uses, a mobile app for a clothing store should focus on making it easy to match colors and create outfits. It should easily link to other online purchase accounts so that customers don’t have to work hard to enter information. If they’re not a returning customer, allowing them to use PayPal saves them entering their home address.
A good online clothing store doesn’t overload with information. The front page divides by broad categories. The inner pages show one item, match it with an outfit, including accessories if those are sold in the store, and link to similar styles.