July 6, 2011, 3:57 PM

Taking mobile commerce to the great outdoors

L.L. Bean launches an m-commerce site for customers on the go and in stores.

Lead Photo

The retailer's m-commerce site emphasizes site search and features an up-to-date shopping bag atop each page.

Outdoor gear and apparel retailer L.L. Bean Inc. has heard from customers for more than a year that they want a mobile site on which they can learn about products and shop the merchant’s entire inventory, a company spokeswoman says. Today it has answered the call with an m-commerce site that enables shoppers to browse, search and buy the retailer’s products.

While the retailer built the site so customers can shop from anywhere at any time, it also intends the site to fulfill customers’ needs while they are shopping in L.L. Bean stores. For example, a shopper looking at a shirt in a store can access the shirt’s product details page and read customer ratings and reviews. “The site allows them in stores to learn more about products so they can make an educated decision,” the spokeswoman says.

Further, the mobile commerce site, built by m-commerce technology provider Usablenet Inc., enables customers to sign in to and manage their accounts. For customers with an L.L. Bean-branded Visa card, this includes looking up how many points they’ve accumulated on their cards to see how much they can save making a purchase in-store or via the mobile site.

L.L. Bean says the rise of the smartphone will drive a growing number of customers into the mobile channel.

“Offering customers the convenience to shop the brand from their smartphones is one more way we can provide exceptional customer service,” says Steve Fuller, senior vice president and chief marketing officer.  “We want to ensure customers can shop with us however they choose and whenever they want, whether that’s through our catalogs, web site, retail stores and now with mobile.”

Shoppers on mobile phones are automatically redirected to L.L. Bean’s m-commerce site when they enter LLBean.com in their browsers. Key features of the site, according to L.L. Bean, are site search, a GPS-powered store finder, L.L. Bean Visa Card coupon lookup, click-to-call customer service, product ratings and reviews, e-mail sign-up, and complete product descriptions.

In the coming weeks, L.L. Bean and Usablenet will launch a mobile commerce site for the merchant’s L.L. Bean Signature brand, which also has a separate e-commerce site. The Signature brand is apparel with a different fit and style than L.L. Bean’s traditional offerings.

“We are continually evolving and improving our touch points with the customer,” says Terry Sutton, vice president of e-commerce. “Mobile commerce is just the beginning. We’ll continue to look for innovative ways to provide value and exceptional service to our customers.”

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