March 6, 2012, 4:14 PM

A touch of mobile improves conversion and sales

A Touch of Class says an m-commerce site was the right move.

Lead Photo

Traffic to the e-retailer's m-commerce site now accounts for 4% of total online traffic.

It’s a familiar story in the world of mobile commerce: Traffic to an e-retail site coming from mobile devices is soaring. In the case of home décor cataloger and e-retailer Touch of Class, traffic from smartphones accounted for 19,000 visits in February 2011 and more than doubled to 40,000 in February 2012, now accounting for about 4% of total site traffic.

So Touch of Class took a close look at its e-commerce vendor’s m-commerce technology. The vendor, Kalio Inc., reformats content from a merchant’s product database—the same used for an e-commerce site—to fit into templates optimized for viewing on smartphone screens. Touch of Class launched its Kalio-built m-commerce site Feb. 2.

Comparing February 2012 to January 2012, the mobile conversion rate is up from 0.32% to 0.55%, mobile sales are up 81%, and mobile revenue as a percentage of online revenue is up from 0.74% to 1.2%, the e-retailer reports.

“Having an expectation of doubling our conversion rate, the math was very easy to say, ‘Yes, proceed with building the mobile site.’ And the numbers have proven that it was well worthwhile,” says Gary Bell, director of information technology and e-commerce at Touch of Class, No. 407 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

Bell says removing the need to tediously pinch and zoom through the large site on a mobile device makes a world of difference, and that having a checkout process that fits the screen and offers easy-to-fill data fields turns shoppers into buyers.

Touch of Class promotes its m-commerce site on its e-commerce site home page and through periodic e-mail marketing pieces.

In the year to come, Touch of Class will be studying how mobile consumers shop to detect differences between mobile and desktop customers. Then it can better tailor products and offers to mobile shoppers, Bell says, and make sure that the mobile site works in such a way that is optimal for shoppers in competitors’ stores who are comparing products and prices. The e-retailer is using paid search services from Google Inc. and Bing to attempt to ensure its listings are as high up as possible on search results pages for shoppers searching in competitors’ stores. Having mobile-optimized pages, for example, helps boost page rankings for mobile searches through Google.

One possibility by year’s end is a Touch of Class mobile app. But an app would be very different from the mobile web experience the e-retailer currently offers, Bell says.

“We want it to be a means for showing our products in a new way,” he explains. “One example might be access to a camera in a mobile device. You could be in your home and take a picture of your wall and through an app you can select a product of ours like a wall sculpture and it would present it to you on your wall. This is augmented reality and would be a great app tool.”

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