June 17, 2008, 12:00 AM

Mobile technology can weave channels together to the benefit of customers

M-commerce is the next big thing, and retailers can use mobile to pull together all channels to enable customers to browse and transact in the optimal way, says Moosejaw Mountaineering’s Gary Wohlfeill.

Why did Moosejaw Mountaineering jump headfirst into m-commerce? Because the customer is always right.

“Our customers are mobile and they expect us to be there. They’re very comfortable with mobile technology, they use their phones all the time, they routinely text each other, and they’re browsing the web on their phones,” said Gary Wohlfeill, executive vice president of marketing at Moosejaw Mountaineering, at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition. He delivered the keynote address, “Diving Into M-commerce,” at the m-commerce workshop. “Plus, mobile is a bridge to blur the best of each channel.”

That is the direction Moosejaw is heading with its existing m-commerce array, which includes an m-commerce site and text messaging services. The multi-channel retailer, No. 260 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, believes the mobile channel can complement its stores and e-commerce site so that customers can shop most conveniently.

For example, a customer who just completed a purchase on the e-commerce site can elect to have the package tracking number texted to her mobile phone, a process that weaves together e-commerce, m-commerce and delivery. A customer who wishes to use PayPal now can use it not just online but in Moosejaw stores using his mobile phone. Further, a customer on the e-commerce site will be able to use Text To a Friend functionality that sends an m-commerce site link of a recommended product to a friend’s mobile phone along with the location of the nearest Moosejaw store that has the product in stock.

“Mobile is the next big thing, and mobile technology is only getting better,” Wohlfeill said. “The better the phones get, the better the browsers get, the easier it becomes for everyone to use it. And mobile will always offer unique, immediate touch points no other channel can.”

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