June 11, 2012, 11:32 AM

IRCE 2012 Report: Mobile redesigns spark sales

Crutchfield, The Sportsman’s Guide and Toolfetch.com review mobile site performance.

Lead Photo

Todd Cabell

With less cluttered content, Crutchfield Corp.’s new mobile site boosted sales by 181%, Todd Cabell, senior manager of e-commerce, said at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 last week in a session entitled “Time for a mobile redesign.”

Crutchfield, the consumer electronics retailer that is No. 123 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, relaunched its mobile site with its in-house technology team in August 2011 after having introduced its original mobile site in December 2009.

A main reason for the redesign, Cabell said, was to provide a better mobile shopping experience that would increase mobile traffic, improve the retailer’s insight into customer shopping behavior, and provide a core technology using the programming language HTML5 and JavaScript development framework to support multiple mobile devices and operating platforms, Cabell said.

The redesign took about five months of development work preceded by two months of research. The effort resulted in, among other improvements, better organized page content that replaced extensive lines of hard-to-read product information with less text combined with navigation tabs. The result, Cabell said, was that the new site increased the available product content six-fold while also becoming easier to read.

Crutchfield organized its mobile site improvements into three general areas organized by tabs on each page: Shop, Research and Contact. Clicking on the Shop tab produces a menu of product and other category links, such as for Car Audio, Video & GPS, Home Audio and Specials. The Research tab takes a shopper to product details, customer reviews and other information organized by product categories. The Contact tab pulls up phone numbers and e-mail addresses for product advisors and customer service reps.

The new site also provides features that let shoppers track order status, use an Outfit My Car product configurator for car audio equipment and related items, and use a GPS tool to get information on shipping time from their personal location.

Cabell added that redesigning the mobile site, and making its content more streamlined and easier to use, also provided lessons for how to improve Crutchfield’s traditional e-commerce site. For example, the retailer is currently working on an easier-to-use checkout process on its e-commerce site with lessons learned from its mobile redesign, Cabell said after the session.

Joining Cabell in the session were Andrew Brown, CEO of Toolfetch.com, No. 405 in the Top 500 Guide, and Tim Arland, senior vice president for e-commerce at The Sportsman’s Guide, a unit of Redcats USA, No. 34 in the Top 500 Guide.

Brown explained how Toolfetch, a seller of power tools and related equipment to consumers and contractors, worked with its search engine optimization firm Covario Inc. (formerly known as NetConcepts) and Keynote Systems Inc., a web performance monitoring company, to redesign a mobile site that previously suffered from slow page load times, particularly on BlackBerry smartphones.

With help from Keynote to identify what was slowing mobile site performance, the redesign resulted in faster page loads. On BlackBerry devices, for example, page loads speeded up to just over five seconds from a range of 80 to 130 seconds, Brown said.

At Sportsman’s Guide, Arland noted that the retailer’s in-house developers and mobile technology firm Netbiscuits worked to better integrate its mobile site content with that of its e-commerce site, including the same home page hero shot for main merchandising and promotional displays. Along with other improvements, the redesigned mobile site, which launched in the summer of 2011, produced a 16-fold increase in sales earlier this year compared to the same period last year, Arland said.

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