The Honest Company was founded in 2011 by Jessica Alba and co-founder Christopher Gavigan. They were parents in search of safe options for everyday products, such as diapers and personal care. Their company was founded on this basis with heavy emphasis on social good and responsible practice.
The company very quickly latched onto the burgeoning market for monthly subscriptions, introducing its “bundles” for diapers, homecare, and more. Its range of products has expanded to include makeup and beauty products, vitamins, and organic baby formula.
The Honest Company is currently valued at over $1.7 billion and surpassed $300 million in sales during 2016.
The Honest Company has had an iOS mobile app from early on in its business model, although they have kept it relatively regularly updated. The company’s recent line, “Honest Beauty” was started in 2015 spurning a new app.
With such a large number of annual sales and a client base which heavily includes a very mobile, younger audience, we’re expecting something with all the latest bells and whistles that delivers a great experience, right?
Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the interesting as we delve into the Honest Beauty iOS app:
One thing that really impressed us with this app is the detailed product videos made, which are available under every product category. For example, we took a look at eyebrow fillers and were able to scroll down the product page to a tutorial explaining how to use them.
This is an excellent idea, as anyone who uses or who has messed around with makeup will know that a big part of the challenge is knowing how to use the products effectively! The product videos are great for de-mystifying products and making them more accessible to people.
We noticed that products with some complexity, like eyebrow filler or facial oil, have videos that go into more detail, really helping shoppers to understand, while those for more obvious products like leave-in conditioner used clips of just a few seconds.
One thing that really frustrated us about this app was the checkout process. Specifically, there is no way to see what your shipping cost, tax, or grand total are before you enter your credit card information. As we’ve discussed previously,
this is a good way to put app users off and cause them to abandon the cart.
While in the cart popup, you can see your subtotal and how far away you are from free shipping, which is a good feature to have, but that’s about it.
When we clicked on “Proceed to checkout,” it immediately took us to a page requesting credit card details and there is no way of hitting “Next” without entering them (it comes up with an error message). This leaves us with no idea how much shipping will be if we spend under $50 and we don’t know if we need to pay sales taxes.
There’s a feeling of a lack of transparency for the customer when this happens – who likes to hand over their credit card details when they’re not sure what the total spend will be? It’s also worth noting that they didn’t offer any other payment option besides credit card, something that will eliminate customers who prefer to use methods they’re comfortable with like Apple Pay or Paypal. At this stage, they will probably lose a number of customers during checkout.
Ecommerce app 101: If you want to win the trust of your customers, keep the process and all costs transparent!
A feature that really grabbed us is the ability of the shopper to use “bundles” to create recurring shipments of products.
This starts out with a choice of three products for $50 as the base of the bundle. For each additional “add-on” product you include (up to five products) you get a 25% discount on the product. It’s a great way to give shoppers some flexibility rather than just offering standard bundled products. We note that they do provide a phone number on the screen, telling people they can call to cancel at any time.
They send out reminders prior to shipments so that shoppers have the chance to adjust their order or skip as needed. Overall bundles are a winner for them – they are consistently mentioned as a positive in the app reviews.
Overall, the Honest Beauty app achieves a respectable 4.5 stars out of 5 in the app store and does deliver a good experience, particularly with the informative product content and the bundles feature.
We see room for improvement during the checkout process and feel they might even notice an improvement in conversions if they tend to it. Specifically, they could ensure that all costs are presented upfront before requesting payment details and they could offer more payment methods than just credit card.
We give this app a solid B+, mainly because we see that transparency as being an important issue.
Author: Emily Gomez & Einar Vollset, Corresponding Author: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For each teardown we collect over 200 data points, including UX best practices, search capabilities, payment integrations as well as re-engagement tactics and social/engagement features. Each teardown includes an overall score, along with the score for each of the 20+ categories we collect data under. We then provides either video and/or slideshow content of the actual app, highlighting important parts of the app along with particularly good, bad or surprising functionality.