November 14, 2007, 12:00 AM

Moosejaw trims content as well as design to fit m-commerce

Multi-channel outdoor gear retailer Moosejaw Mountaineering discovered that design rules applying to e-commerce don’t fit m-commerce. After rolling out its m-commerce site, it became apparent that content was more important than presentation.

When Moosejaw Mountaineering began exploring mobile commerce three years ago, the technology wasn’t ready. And Moosejaw’s plans to communicate with consumers by text message were in place, but costs were too high.

Since then, technology capabilities and quality have gone up and text messaging costs have come down, by about 50%, says Jeffrey Wolfe, chief operating officer at Moosejaw, No. 297 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. The changes helped the company begin its quest to become a mobile destination for younger, tech-savvy consumers.

Its online retail site is a big success, but in developing, the company learned there isn’t much overlap in designing e-commerce and m-commerce sites, Wolfe says. “We were forced to approach the mobile site in a completely different way than our site,” he says. “We sell 15,000 products and our goal was to let customers access all of them,” he says, by cell phone or other wireless device.

But Moosejaw soon discovered that rules applying to e-commerce don’t fit m-commerce. In fact, it became apparent that site content is probably more important than presentation. “No one wants to see all 15,000 products,” Wolfe says. “Now we’re setting it up so shoppers can see what they want.” That means displaying only sale-priced jackets for men or women, for instance, and specials can be changed weekly. “It’s not only about working with a smaller screen,” he adds. “We now see it as a smaller site.”

Moosejaw’s text messages fall into two categories. One is strictly for entertainment or to offer customers, who have opted to receive such missives, bonus reward points and coupons. The other category is a bit more practical. Customers who buy on can opt for a tracking number on their mobile phone or device. It’s not a necessity, but it is cool, CEO Robert Wolfe says, which to the Moosejaw demographic of late teens to twentysomethings, is plenty. 25% of customers who place an order sign up to get texted.

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