September 22, 2010, 4:03 PM

New tool helps companies take their e-commerce sites mobile

Companies using Endeca web site features can tweak them for the mobile realm.

 

Endeca Technologies Inc., a site search and navigation technology provider, has launched Endeca Mobile Commerce. The tool enables retailers using Endeca’s technology and services for their e-commerce sites to build mobile sites and apps.

Endeca Mobile Commerce enables web site operators to log into their Endeca accounts, access a program called PageBuilder, and modify their Endeca e-commerce tools for mobile platforms. Users can use Endeca features such as site search, guided navigation, user reviews, and recommendations, and push them to several mobile platforms via an application programming interface.  The tool enables customers to optimize web site features for mobile sites and on apps for Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad, and for smartphones that run on Google’s Android operating system. Site operators can preview how each feature and function will work before turning it on, says Brenna Johnson, product marketing manager for Endeca.

Endeca Mobile Commerce also offers pre-built features like a GPS store locator, automatic device detection for the mobile web, and one-touch checkout integrated with a retailer’s existing shopping cart.

Endeca says that unlike site and app development technology from such vendors as Digby and Usablenet, Endeca Mobile Commerce can save retailers time by eliminating the need for them to build a mobile storefront from scratch. The technology also gives companies more control by allowing them to use pre-built templates to modify Endeca features—such as search results, category landing pages, promotions and product detail screens—for mobile devices.  

Nikki Baird, managing partner at research and advisory firm Retail Systems Research, likes that the Endeca tool lets retailers preview how changes will look, and that it enables retailers to manage web and mobile changes within the same PageBuilder tool. “I’m not surprised to see these kinds of developments, and I expect that we’ll see more of them as larger players move on the mobile space,” she says. “Ease of administration of yet another channel is important, and the fewer tools you have to use, the easier it’s going to be.” 

Mobile optimization can be tricky, especially as many retailers still struggle with optimizing web site content and features across web browsers, says Paula Rosenblum, also a managing partner at RSR. “We already have so many discrepancies in the way web sites look across browsers, it is helpful to have the vendor take responsibility for uniformity in mobile commerce environments,” she says.

Endeca, which provides its services via an installed, licensed platform, says one retailer client has already used the service to create a mobile app that was recently approved for Apple’s App Store. Two or three more companies will begin using the feature by the end of the year, with a few dozen additional ones in negotiations or considering the service, Johnson says.

Endeca offers the tool for an additional fee to clients using Endeca’s technology for e-commerce.

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