September 27, 2011, 12:17 PM

OrderDynamics bows to its clients and enters mobile commerce

Retailers wanted m-commerce sites, and today the vendor provides them.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

The merchant's m-commerce site was built by OrderDynamics using HTML5.

The message was loud and clear. “Every single one of our 50 clients has asked for mobile commerce,” says Michael Turcsanyi, president and co-founder of e-commerce platform and now m-commerce site provider OrderDynamics Corp.

It began in January when Canadian camera kingpin Henry’s, an OrderDynamics e-commerce platform client, approached the vendor and said it had been looking into mobile commerce. It had asked for and received quotes from such m-commerce luminaries as Digby and Usablenet, among others, but it wanted to know what OrderDynamics might be able to do.

At the time OrderDynamics was in its annual strategic planning process, and m-commerce was on the horizon because of requests from other clients. Henry’s put it over the top and OrderDynamics took the plunge, examining the proposals Henry’s received from the m-commerce technology vendors, giving careful consideration to what it could build, and then coming back to Henry’s with a proposal that Henry’s says offered much more functionality for roughly the same price. Henry’s launches its m-commerce site today.

OrderDynamics honed its argument in on the difference between how a number of m-commerce vendors render sites and how it would create a site. OrderDynamics pointed to m-commerce vendors that create sites by proxy, a method that takes most of the elements of an e-commerce page and maps them to an m-commerce template to create a mobile page. This method essentially makes a version of the e-commerce site that is optimized for the smaller screen.

OrderDynamics said it would create a mobile commerce site that would be free of any connections to the e-commerce site, sitting astride the e-commerce site not just for Henry’s but also the freestanding sites for five brands Henry’s operates. In this way, Turcsanyi says, the m-commerce site would not have to always be a mirror of the e-commerce site, and the vendor could more easily add mobile-oriented features to the m-commerce site.

Features it has included in the Henry’s m-commerce site include real-time shipping rate look-up in cart, promo code entry in cart, gift card redemption in cart, real-time inventory availability, real-time pricing changes, one-click checkout and personalization. Personalization is important as most OrderDynamics clients use it on their e-commerce sites, Turcsanyi says. For instance, a shopper coming to the Henry’s e-commerce site from a Google search on a Canon camera will see a banner on the landing page for Canon. OrderDynamics has enabled that same functionality on the m-commerce site.

OrderDynamics went a step ahead of many vendors and is using the up-and-coming web programming language HTML5 in its m-commerce offering. Between HTML5 and user interface code framework jQuery Mobile, the vendor is able to make its m-commerce sites touch-sensitive, meaning users can pinch and zoom and swipe their way through smartphone-based sites, something that can’t be done on most m-commerce sites.

“We and many other technology providers,” Turcsanyi says, “believe HTML5 sites are the future in commerce as opposed to mobile apps.”

Comments | 7 Responses

  • Nice mobile site?! Doesn't redirect. When I put in the m dot I see a horribly incomplete site. Crashed Safari! Should've hired one of those mobile companies.

    • That's weird... I never have problems with this platform on Safari. Could it be your device that needs an upgrade?

  • When I type in m.Henrys.com I get their mobile commerce site, and it did not crash Safari. Perhaps there was a problem with your browser, as I've never experienced any Safari crashes on my iPhones, three different versions. But, bottom line, m.Henrys.com is working fine over here in Chicago.

  • Just visited the site on my BlackBerry PlayBook from Toronto, page is loading great and swipe guestures in the products carousel works really nice! Way to go!

  • I wouldn't exactly call this any triumph. It doesn't redirect, so all your marketing and email campaigns will be lost, all the search traffic will go to the wrong place, and even for those that do go to the mobile site, the site is very very slow. Way too much JS on these pages and the jQuery libraries are clearly copied form somewhere else without any real site specific testing. Also, there are big and obvious holes in the site. Pulling a screen to scroll starts menu items loading, there are empty boxes all over the place with placeholder test in them ("This is a PCA'). I will say that the design and lok and feel is nicely done, but this is hardly the work of an expert and the lack of mobile QA resources and development experience is pretty painfully obvious. Plus to say that the optimal design for mobile tablet can be exactly the same is just silly. Will probably be ok for iPhone on WiFi only, but can't imagine much traction outside of that - and none at all if it lives in a silo like it does now.

  • Amateur effort as previous posters pointed out. No redirect? Really? Select any category and instead of product images you see placeholders 'This is a PCA.' You'd think they'd get that sorted before they told the media. I'm sure any testing would reveal many more issues. Guess this is what you get when you hire a company that's never done mobile before.

  • Just took the site for a spin. I don't think they're redirecting just yet while they settle in, I've seen this before with "soft launches". What's interesting is that many of the features here really stand out positively against some of the recent mobile announcements. Not sure if any of the other posters saw the Circuit City, CompUSA, TigerDirect recent mobile site announcement yesterday but those companies should take some tips from the Henry's mobile site. Here are some things I noticed, hope this is valuable. Since these are all consumer electronics mobile sites, couple things worth noting about the Henry's site that you'd think would be in there from those 3 much larger retailers: the dynamic resizing of the site. most mobile sites look small and awkward on tablets, but this site dynamically re-sizes the mobile site based on the device you're using. For fun I used my iPad2, iPod3, BB Bold 9900, and my wife's Galaxy tab - all of which the site would render in the right size and proportions for the screen automatically. Less buttons more swipe! swipe controls are smooth and offered on heros, product carousels, and on multiple images. Image sizes - finally a mobile site that provides large, rich shots and multiple image support (looks even more amazing on a tablet). Guided navigation is very easy: not unique to this mobile site but has been made very easy to filter, search within, drill down and sorting options are easier than most. Product information is your only sales person: product pages have rich information, dynamic expanding tabs, product attributes (nice spec grids - third party?), reviews, stock messaging, wish lists. Lastly, the "account area" is very feature rich - I recommend creating an account just to check that out. Some areas for improvement: zip/postal code and coupon codes in the cart would be nice (like their main site); location-based or zip/postal look-up in the store locator would be easier; there are areas of the site - like when you're going through categories or in parts of "account area" -where the header changes from top navigation with search and cart to a back button and home button header. I'm assuming this was done for space during those functions but it may be a good idea to have at least the cart button always available on those screens to make getting back to the cart faster. Lastly, it would be beneficial to have add-to-cart buttons on the list pages (like their main site) rather than having to click through to the product page -> if I know what I want, on mobile I want to buy it fast! With mobile commerce growing fast we're definitely seeing rapid adoption so that retailers can have a presence. It is clear, however, that retailers need to be prepared to continuously (and quickly) make improvements in order to capture maximum revenue from this channel.

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