August 31, 2011, 4:07 PM

Zales polishes a site for its debut in mobile commerce

The jeweler launches an m-commerce site for researching and buying.

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The merchant says m-commerce should address the needs of both consumers who are researching and consumers who are looking to buy.

Zale Corp. runs both stores and an e-commerce site—two separate channels that exist in different worlds. But the web has plenty of features that can help jewelry shoppers in the physical world. And that is why Zales has launched a mobile commerce site.

“Zales sees the mobile site as a bridge between our stores and our web site that consumers can use while on the go,” a Zales spokeswoman says. “To be successful in today’s multichannel environment, it was important for us to deliver the best shopping experience to our customers, whenever or wherever they are.”

The site, built by m-commerce technology provider Usablenet Inc., enables shoppers to search for products from the jeweler’s entire inventory. Or consumers can browse by category, including wedding, rings, necklaces, women’s, men’s and others. Shoppers with a Zales.com account can log in on the m-commerce site and manage their account. This also eases checkout as shoppers can use billing and shipping information already stored in the account. Shoppers without an account can create one on the m-commerce site.

Today, consumers seem to be using mobile sites and apps more for researching products than making purchases. While traffic is significant and getting larger for many retailers’ m-commerce sites, conversion rates are low, Internet Retailer research shows. Zales says it has entered mobile commerce to serve both types of shoppers—researchers and buyers.

“As a retailer in today’s multichannel environment, each channel—stores, online and mobile—has to address both consumer intents,” the spokeswoman says. “We simply see mobile as another method for our customers to interact and communicate with our brands, irrespective of their immediate intent.”

Zales’ intent in launching this new channel is to make sure customers are never far from the jeweler.

“They may be standing in our own stores looking for more product information or browsing the new collections, such as Vera Wang and Jessica Simpson, while on their morning commute,” the spokeswoman says. “Irrespective of where they are or their immediate intent, we wanted a mobile experience that allowed our customers to quickly and easily interact. We believe we’ve achieved that goal with this launch.”

Zales is No. 194 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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