river island of (app)ventures.

River Island app screenshot

I’m a huge fan of shopping via my iPhone. Mostly because, well, the more opportunities to shop, the better. Which is why I was ecstatic to discover this weekend that River Island have released an iPhone app.

Obviously I had to download and give this a go immediately. And I’m happy to report that I’m very impressed.

Many shopping apps – from Argos and Amazon to All Saints – can be slow and confusing. It’s easy to accidentally press the wrong button and lose everything. But I didn’t find this with the River Island app.

First off, it’s nicely designed. The simple logo icon looks good and because it sits on a grey background, not black, I won’t confuse it easily with the myriad of others I already have (Shopstyle, Topshop…)

Second, the interface is clear and simple. It’s easy to select the womens department, and after that, whether I want to browse everything or just look at, say, dresses. And once selected, everything loaded quickly – something I’ve been constantly frustrated with using the All Saints app.

The next thing to highlight is the product view, or should I say views… You can choose between tiles or a list. Personally I prefer tiles, but the list let’s you sweep down the screen much faster.

More important are the deeper product views. These are great. And again – depending on what you’re looking at – you have options. So, you click on the image of something you like, get a bigger image and the details, and you can click again to load the zoom image ready for you to scrupulously investigate every seam, if you so wish, in close up detail. And if you’re looking at footwear it gets even better!

The 360 option gives you a lovely slowly spinning graphic from all angles, so you don’t get a nasty shock when your order turns up with bright pink embroidered bows down the back (or some other similarly horrific detailing).

But my favourite feature of this app has to be the wishlist. I love it. While you’re viewing any item in the app, just click the little heart icon at the bottom of your screen to add it to your wishlist. Then you can share it via Facebook, Twitter or email. Or just save it for later. You don’t have to login or anything.

If you do have a login, you can use your usual RI online account info to login and even pay using the details you’ve used before, but equally you can shop on the go without having to register at all.

There are a couple of tiny issues – more irritations that might just be personal opinion if you will. Both have to so with the wishlist. First, I don’t like having to click to continue shipping after I’ve added another item. Call me lazy, but it’s an extra finger tap that I just don’t need (or want). And second, it was a little bit finicky figuring out how to delete something from my wishlist when changed my mind (read: realised my wishlist was too long).

Once I had it figured out, it was actually very easy and manageable.

Oh, and one other feature I forgot to mention, the style guide. Pick any item and you can then click a button to see what you should wear it with. Very helpful, although sadly doesn’t seem to be fully populated yet.

Anyway, in my book, this gets an 8 out of 10 – fix the style guide and the minor niggles, and it’s an easy 9, nipping at a 10 if you can get some nifty AR or innovation in there.

Nice work chaps. To quote a pop cult classic: two very enthusiastic thumbs up! (Name that film!) Topshop (and all other high street fashion retailers), take note!



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