Nestlé : Moving app-wards

Nestleapp click to view

A pioneering challenger to corporate mobile websites.

The Site

Nestlé, the Switzerland-based consumer products giant, has produced a cut-down ‘app’ version of its corporate site.

iPhone or iPad users can search for ‘nestle’ on iTunes and download a newly-launched company app (or application). It looks similar to the numerous dedicated mobile websites aimed at journalists and investors. The ‘home page’ has four areas (News & features, Press releases, Presentations and Share Buy-back) leading to a mix of stories, photographs, PDFs of investor presentations and weekly updates on the progress of the share buy-back programme.

Navigation is by a row of buttons at the bottom of the screen – including an additional one leading to annual and other reports – while links within the pages open content on and other group websites. The standard iPhone and iPad back-facing arrow leads to the previous page.

The Takeaway

Nestlé’s creation of an app for Apple’s iPhone and iPad (to be followed by an Android version, we gather) is intriguing. It is similar in its clear targeting of investor and media audiences to the mobile websites produced by several companies. It looks much like them, too, and works in the same way – the fixed bottom navigation bar, a standard feature of these devices, gives it a usability edge. The main weakness is the lack of a search facility, which will become more serious as the ‘site’ grows. PDFs, of the annual report, for example, are fiddly to use on an iPhone – it is necessary to use the ‘pinch and zoom’ device to make them readable. This is not an issue on the larger iPad.

Nestlé’s is not the first company app by a long chalk, but it is pioneering in its clear intention to rival a more conventional mobile corporate site. And it is impressively executed. Its success will depend in some degree on the growth of the iPad as a business tool, though with iPhone and Android covered the big market must surely be on small screens. How soon before the word ‘web’ has to be dropped from our description of corporate sites?

First published on 28 October, 2010