March 1, 2011, 12:00 AM

Dover Saddlery saddles up for mobile, as Toolfetch gets an m-commerce tune-up

To better cater to its growing mobile audience, who are often out in the barn or traveling to horse shows, Dover Saddlery recently launched an m-commerce site. The upgraded Toolfetch mobile site offers live chat customer service and better site search.

For Dover Saddlery Inc., going mobile was a natural next step. The multichannel retailer of equestrian products was tracking more mobile visitors to its traditional e-commerce site.

"We noticed a dramatic increase in mobile visitors and wanted to be sure we were converting these customers by providing the best possible mobile experience," says Jason Loy, director of e-commerce. Mobile visitors are growing each month for the retailer. 3.3% of traffic to the merchant's e-commerce site in November came from mobile devices. That grew to 3.4% in December and 3.6% in January.

To better cater to its growing mobile audience, Dover Saddlery launched an m-commerce site with the help of mobile technology vendor Unbound Commerce. The mobile-optimized site, Unbound Commerce's 125th mobile site, is accessible through any mobile web browser by typing in the conventional URL.

"Our customers are on the road, attending horse shows, or out in the barn, and their smartphone is the device they have with them when they determine they have a need for the types of products we offer," Loy says.

While Dover Saddlery took its first trot into mobile, another retailer, LLC, gave its year-old mobile site a tune-up. It slimmed down its home page categories from more than 20 to six to help speed its mobile site load time and replaced its Google site search functionality with a more robust system from Nextopia, the vendor it uses for its e-commerce site. The site also now tells visitors how long it will take before an item ships and offers live chat with a associate, says Andrew Brown, co-founder and CEO of

"The live chat tool is very useful if a customer is at a big box store and wants to double-check stock and pricing with a agent before purchasing from us," Brown says.

During the past year since Toolfetch launched a mobile site, Brown says mobile visits have increased about 20%. "People are calling us up saying they have been on our mobile site much more often," Brown says.

The updated site, which built with technology provider Covario Inc., took about a month to launch, Brown says. "The next project is incorporating a shopping cart into the site so a customer can purchase items," Brown says.

Toolfetch wanted to make sure its mobile site was just as fast and easy to navigate as those of its bigger competitors before it added shopping capabilities, he adds.

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