August 24, 2010, 1:15 PM

Northern Tool builds an m-commerce site

The site enables shoppers to search and purchase via phones.

Lead Photo

A builder at a construction site may suddenly find himself in need of an electric motor and have only his phone at hand. This is one of numerous scenarios into which Northern Tool + Equipment Co. is hoping to insert itself with its new mobile commerce site.

The builder can quickly drill down on the mobile site, going from Shop By Category to Electrical to Electric Motors, then review the 68 products available, or he could use site search to go directly to a particular product he’s looking for. Product pages include large photographs, complete product descriptions, customer ratings and reviews, product availability, and the ability to e-mail this information. If a shopper does not wish to wait for a product to be delivered, he can use the store locator, which offers GPS  integration.

“Going mobile is a critical step for us to continue creating value and convenience for our customers,” says Nathan Miller, director of Internet marketing at Northern Tool, No. 71 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. The merchant used mobile commerce technology provider Digby to build the site.

According to research firm IDC, in 2009, for the first time, more smartphones were shipped than desktop PCs. And The Nielsen Co. says by the end of next year, more mobile phone users will own smartphones than conventional phones. It is this soaring adoption of smartphones that is driving m-commerce as smartphones enable richer shopping experiences. And smartphone owners automatically have expectations that web sites across the board will have experiences optimized for their devices, experts say.

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