How do you create a commercially successful retail app? How do you ensure a consistent and qualitative user experience? And finally, how do you roll out major design and feature updates without hurting loyal users of your app? Esprit, one of the world’s largest fashion brands on the global scene partnered up with intive to create the best-in-class shopping app experience in far less than twelve months.
Who is Esprit?
Founded in 1968, Esprit is an international fashion brand that pays homage to its roots and expresses a relaxed, sunny Californian attitude towards life. Esprit creates inspiring collections for women, men and kids made from high-quality materials paying great attention to detail.
Headquartered in Germany and Hong Kong, the brand has its presence in 40 countries with around 630 directly managed retail stores and over 5,800 wholesale points of sale, including franchise stores and sales spaces in department stores.
The Esprit app for iOS and Android is available in 34 countries offering content in 14 corresponding languages.
Aiming to provide the best-in-class shopping app experience
It was the need for enhancing the omni-channel experience for customers and the growing mobile shift in the retail industry that led to the company’s decision to look for a new e-commerce software provider and redo its existing Esprit app into an app with a fully native shopping funnel.
Building a long-term partnership with a software provider that demonstrates extensive expertise in developing native mobile solutions seemed like the best strategy to move forward. Esprit evaluated several providers including intive and checked them against business requirements. intive stood out for a couple of reasons:
- 360° service scope: product design & consulting services, technical conception & consulting, development for Android and iOS as well as quality assurance.
- Proven capabilities for continuous development and continuous optimization.
- Strong retail & e-commerce expertise supported with a solid portfolio of mobile solutions built for global retail brands.
Leveraging effective UX design to build a great e-commerce app
The existing Esprit app was based on web technology and as such bears room for enhancements in terms of performance and intuitive user experience. The idea was to redevelop the entire front-end to create a native environment and to build a new mobile middleware to enhance the efficiency and stability of the app.
Rebuilding the app in a native way would mean offering a better experience for customers. Users would never be more than two taps away from the product they need regardless of their location or time of day. On top, loading speed would increase significantly. This would translate into a higher number of active app users, and eventually also an increment in in-app revenue.
Creating a setup for success
In an effort to place customer experience at the heart of the process and to secure a fast time-to-market result, the collaboration between Esprit and a dedicated intive team involved quite a courageous setup. The UX/UI design practice was aligned and entirely incorporated into the agile development process.
Having software engineers working hand in hand with UX designers and Esprit’s decision-makers was a key step to reducing the time from a concept to the product reaching customer’s hands. It also eliminated commercial risks as the approach integrates real user needs with technically feasible design and economic requirements.
Embracing Native from the Start
The development was divided into two main phases. First, replacing the existing app components with their native counterparts and second, building new platform-specific functionalities to enrich and further enhance the shopping funnel.
In order to provide a qualitative and consistent user experience and to further support the integrity of the omni-channel customer journey, intive crafted a custom-made and unified app-specific Esprit Design System with well-defined and reusable components for multiple usages across different sections within the app.
Advanced engineering works started in early 2017 with two major releases every three months. The initial development efforts centred around building new middleware and refactoring the existing code to improve its quality. The first rollout also introduced a new streamlined navigation tree, and better integration between the app and the web. Replacing web views with a native product overview and single product views followed in Austria in the next release. In the third release, a new native shopping funnel was rolled out in all European Countries where Esprit is presented.
We are excited to support Esprit in their mission to provide the best-in-class shopping app experience. We look forward to seeing the impact of more and more native components that we implement to the mobile apps. A great example of just such a feature is the native basket, which significantly improves user experience, said Manuel Cramer, Director of Product Design Germany at intive.
Impact and results
The project is still ongoing with more advanced e-commerce functionalities to be introduced to the bottom of the app shopping funnel in the coming months. Esprit is determined to provide the best native e-commerce app worldwide.
We see a very strong growth in app traffic with increasing conversion rates since we launched the new native version of the app. The app is loved by our customers and drives loyalty especially within the group of our best customers, the Esprit Friends. Thanks to intive’s support, the app has become an important pillar of Esprit’s e-commerce turnover. And there is so much more to come …, said Leif Erichson, Chief Operations Officer at Esprit.