May 10, 2011, 4:45 PM

A good marriage of mobile and web commerce begins with a holistic attitude

Retailers need to make the shopping experience universal, says an IRCE speaker.

Lead Photo

Lou Weiss

Internet retailers that want to enjoy maximum returns from their investments in both mobile commerce and traditional e-commerce need to begin with a holistic approach to their technology and marketing infrastructure, says VitaminShoppe.com chief marketing officer Lou Weiss.

He will speak at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2011 in San Diego on June 15 from 11:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. in a session titled “A chain adopts both mobile commerce and e-commerce to build success.

He says Vitamin Shoppe uses a holistic approach to give customers a better user experience, regardless of how they want to shop online. “The web isn’t just your e-commerce store, it’s the front-end and back-end of your retail experience, and needs to be developed with that in mind,” says Weiss.

At Vitamin Shoppe, No. 197 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, the chain retailer of health and nutrition products has a number of programs designed to mesh mobile and e-commerce, says Weiss. “Today customers can buy in any channel and return in any channel, and our mobile web site allows them to find out if products are in-stock at nearby stores,” he says.

At his session Weiss will provide attendees with such advice as how to sync inventory across all channels. “The Vitamin Shoppe is known for the breadth and depth of our product selection, which is why mobile store inventory checking was a relatively high priority for us, but it’s not necessarily the right thing for everyone to do first,” he says.

To get a better sense of what works in adopting an e-commerce and mobile commerce program that can work in unison, web merchants also should study what other successful companies already have in place, says Weiss. “Pay attention to strong companies outside of your industry and how they execute against these opportunities,” he says.

Internet Retailer editors asked Weiss to speak because he is a skilled and seasoned e-commerce executive with expertise in launching universal e-commerce programs. At Vitamin Shoppe he is responsible for all marketing and advertising, including the Healthy Awards loyalty program, customer relationship management, store marketing and creative services. He is also the general manager of Vitamin Shoppe Direct. Prior to joining The Vitamin Shoppe, Weiss was president of Gaiam Direct, and he previously held executive positions at several private equity and venture capital-backed companies.

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