September 15, 2011, 12:22 PM

Dungarees.net targets the 8% of consumers shopping its site on smartphones

The work apparel retailer’s new mobile commerce site eases navigation.

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The merchant now caters to smartphone shoppers with an m-commerce site built by CardinalCommerce Corp.

There has been a mobile explosion at Dungarees.net. Two years ago, 1% of traffic coming to the work apparel and accessories merchant’s e-commerce site stemmed from smartphones. Last year the traffic increased to 4%. And this year it’s reached 8%.

That creates a problem, the retailer says, because shoppers on smartphones must  view the standard e-commerce site on their mobile devices, forcing shoppers to all but squint at product information on the smaller screens. Shoppers must pinch and zoom their way through the site, and as a result, conversion remains low, says Darren Baldwin, e-commerce manager at Dungarees.net.

“We haven’t even been targeting those 8% of shoppers,” Baldwin says. “That’s a pretty relevant portion of our customers that we’re not catering to.”

Which is why the retailer, No. 544 in the Internet Retailer Second 500 Guide, has launched a mobile commerce site that is optimized for the small screen so that shoppers can easily view products and navigate the site. The site now resides at m.Dungarees.net, but the retailer says it soon will automatically redirect smartphone shoppers entering the standard URL, Dungarees.net, to the m-commerce site.

“The ease of navigation is the most important function,” Baldwin says. “Where it has taken on a smartphone several clicks on very small buttons to get to a product, you now can speed straight to the product with easy-to-touch bars.”

Shoppers also can use the prominent site search tool atop the pages to locate exactly what they’re looking for. “Many people coming to a mobile site already have a product in mind,” Baldwin says.

To build the mobile site, Dungarees.net used e-commerce and m-commerce technology provider CardinalCommerce Corp. The retailer sent requests for proposals to numerous vendors but liked other m-commerce sites built by CardinalCommerce along with the price, which Dungarees declines to reveal. CardinalCommerce also won the contract because it is helping the  retailer to implement PayPal and other payment options into its e-commerce site.

Baldwin says he will judge the success of the mobile commerce site based on whether it boosts the mobile conversion rate. Baldwin declines to reveal exact conversion rates, but Internet Retailer in the Second 500 Guide estimates the Dungarees.net e-commerce conversion rate to be 2.70%. He says the mobile conversion rate is less than half the e-commerce rate.

“I would like to see the mobile rate at more than half that of our e-commerce site,” he says. “It will come down to some number crunching: how much time and resources we put into the mobile site versus how much the mobile conversion rate increases. But we don’t have a hard and fast number we’re looking for. I definitely would like to see a pretty significant increase to what the current mobile conversion rate is.”

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