November 15, 2011, 3:22 PM

Wine.com seeks to better mobile conversion with a newly optimized smartphone site

But business is booming on iPads, where shoppers spend 50% more than the average.

Lead Photo

The e-retailer's m-commerce site is packed with information on wine and enables customers to purchase wine, gifts and accessories.

Last November 3% of shoppers on Wine.com were on smartphones; this year it’s up to 8%. However, the conversion rate for smartphone shoppers is only 1%. With a sharply increasing number of customers using smartphones who have to pinch and zoom their way through an e-commerce site on a mobile device, Wine.com Inc. decided it was time for a mobile commerce site.

Customers are sending a clear message that they want to shop on smartphones, but they want to be able to do so in a quick and easy fashion, says Wine.com CEO Rich Bergsund.

“We are following our customers’ lead and trying to innovate to make mobile shopping a great experience for them,” Bergsund says. “We have minimized typing, for example. If you have an account with us already you can select your preferred billing and shipping without typing—you just log in and check out. It’s really easy to do in a mobile setting.”

M-commerce site shoppers have access to Wine.com’s full inventory of wine, gifts and accessories; a geo-location feature using a smartphone’s GPS technology determines and displays wines available to ship to each users’ specific area. Shoppers can sort wines by type, price, varietal and region to find exactly what they are looking for. On product pages, shoppers can zoom in on wine labels, read full product details and access more in-depth information, including winemaker’s notes and “Learn About” content that educates consumers on the region and varietal of each wine, as well as vineyard backgrounds. Shoppers can also track orders and manage their accounts.

Meanwhile, on the tablet side of mobile commerce at Wine.com, business is booming. The e-retailer has found that tablet shoppers are a whole different breed of mobile consumer. 6% of all Wine.com traffic stems from tablets, primarily Apple Inc.’s iPad. What’s more, tablet shoppers on Wine.com or using the merchant’s dazzling iPad app account for 8% of total revenue. Further, tablet shoppers spend more: Wine.com’s average order value is $150 while tablet shoppers’ average order is $225.

“The day after Christmas last year, when everyone got iPads, 20% of Wine.com revenue came from iPad shoppers,” Bergsund says. “Mobile overall is changing commerce fundamentally where more days of the week and more times of the day are relevant to businesses in e-commerce. You have people shopping wherever they want.” Busy times for mobile commerce include weekends and weekday commuting hours; weekday evenings are popular times for consumers on tablets.

And in the hectic holiday season, that’s all over the place. So Wine.com, No. 239 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has included a mobile version of its gift shop on the m-commerce site. 80% of orders in December include gift messages, so the mobile site had to offer gift features, Bergsund says.

“You can select the gift wrap options and messages from your phone,” he explains. “We’re trying to make everything mobile. However a consumer wants to shop is how we will enable them to shop.”

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