In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
The surf shop’s mobile site lets customers access virtual billboards customized for each location.
Surf enthusiasts likely know of Ron Jon’s billboards that dot the East Coast telling drivers the number of miles until they reach the next Ron Jon store.
When Ron Jon decided to create an m-commerce site, it looked to bring that marketing tactic to mobile shoppers as well by including a virtual billboard for the mobile realm. Mobile shoppers can click a Locations tab on the home page and enter a ZIP code to see a list of stores, each with the distance in miles from where the shopper is currently located. A consumer then can select a store and rotate his smartphone to access a full-screen photo of that particular shop. He then can scroll down the page to access a map, directions to the shop, a description of the store and a button to call that particular store.
The site, built by mobile commerce technology provider Mad Mobile, also sells a full range of items spread across nine categories, including Men, Women, Kids and Home Décor. It also offers weather conditions for popular surf spots and news and events for each of its stores, ranging from celebrity appearances to sales to store concerts.
Users can also sign up for Ron Jon’s e-mail list, check in to a Ron Jon store on Facebook, access the retailer’s Twitter page and log into their Ron Jon accounts via the mobile site.
“I found the virtual billboard really clever because billboards on the way to the beach are part of their brand,” says David Eads, CEO of mobile consulting firm Mobile Strategy Partners Inc., who was not involved in the project. “Families across the East Coast count the miles to the beach following their billboards. It's a great example of using functionality to tap into their brand and remind consumers of very positive emotions about interacting with their physical locations and products.”
Brian Klais, founder and president of mobile consulting firm Pure Oxygen Mobile, likes the site's use of Ajax and its integration of maps and directions. "The Ajax used for pre-fetching pages makes for smoother transitions and overall good user experience," he says. Ajax is a technology used in building and designing web pages that eliminates the need for a page refresh each time a site visitor searches, refines search results or goes to the next page.
Mad Mobile has built mobile sites for many retailers including Sport Chalet and mattress and bedding retailer Sleep Number.