February 17, 2012, 10:23 AM

Moosejaw Mountaineering melds e-commerce and m-commerce

The retailer will explain its unconventional approach to mobile design at IRCE.

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Retailers entering mobile commerce typically begin by building a mobile web site designed specifically for smartphones, which have a screen considerably smaller than a desktop monitor. This style of design has proven very successful for many merchants. However, it does require a retailer to maintain two sites, one for e-commerce and one for m-commerce.

Moosejaw Mountaineering is taking a different approach. It’s using a web design standard to flow data from its e-commerce systems in ways that match the size of a screen, thus eliminating the need for a freestanding m-commerce site and saving on back-end integration.

The merchant, No. 252 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300 Guide, uses Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS. In the CSS design tool there is a convention called media queries. When a device requests a web site page from the Moosejaw servers, the CSS convention detects the size of the screen. If it’s a desktop-sized monitor or a tablet, the servers deliver pages in large style sheets; if it’s a smartphone, the servers deliver pages in small sheets.

Eoin Comerford, senior vice president of marketing and technology at Moosejaw Mountaineering, will discuss Moosejaw’s new approach to m-commerce at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition June 5-8, 2012, in Chicago, in a session entitled “Making your e-commerce site play nice with smartphones.”

“The session will look at the pros and cons of different options for establishing a mobile commerce presence and why Moosejaw decided to go a different route,” Comerford says. “Participants will learn why we decided not to have a separate mobile commerce site, how we optimized the main site for mobile, and the lessons learned in the process.”

Internet Retailer’s editors asked Comerford to speak because he oversees all marketing for Moosejaw’s web site, seven retail stores, mail order catalogs and mobile commerce program. Before Moosejaw, Eoin was president of AJ Prindle, a multichannel retailer of auto-related gadgets founded by Ford Motor Co. in 2000. Before that he was a senior manager with Andersen Business Consulting.

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