April 4, 2012, 7:35 PM

Sport Chalet creates an active new home for mobile consumers

The site features rotating home page hero shots and real-time inventory checks.

Lead Photo

Sport Chalet, which operates an e-commerce site as well as bricks-and-mortar stores in California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada, has launched a new mobile commerce site with a rich feature typically reserved for traditional PC sites—a rotating home page banner.

Sport Chalet, which automatically directs mobile users who type in the standard URL to the m-commerce site, currently rotates between three home page hero shots: one promoting running gear, another advertising fishing equipment and a third advertising Adidas-branded Techfit workout gear.

The new mobile site was built by m-commerce vendor Mad Mobile , which has built mobile sites for such retailers as CafePress and Claire’s. The vendor is currently working on mobile sites for retailers including Ron Jon Surf Shop and Toshiba Direct.

In addition to rich images, the home page features a large box that takes up about a quarter of the page to promote the new mobile site. The announcement covers several ways mobile shoppers can use the newly optimized site, including: to check in-store availability at Sport Chalet’s bricks-and-mortar locations, to find nearby stores, and to research and buy goods directly from the mobile site.

“I love their use of Ajax web technology to create a more optimal page experience than you find on typical m-commerce sites,” says Brian Klais, founder and president of mobile marketing firm Pure Oxygen. “For example, clicking the Search icon magically reveals the Search bar, without loading a new page. Similarly, when product reviews are available, just click the Reviews button to see comments without loading new pages. You can also hide those areas when no longer needed.”  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.

Consumers can choose one of three navigation options to get started: Shop All, Shop by Brand, and Shop by Sport. Shop All brings shoppers to a list of 11 categories ranging from Outdoor to Cycling to Golf. A click on Shop by Brand delivers six featured brands including Nike and Reebok, as well as the ability to search by brand name or to click on a letter to view brands arranged in alphabetical order. Selecting Shop By Sport from the home page delivers a list of more than 30 sports to peruse, from kneeboarding to lacrosse.

Product Pages feature large images, a brief description of the product, the option to check store availability by entering a ZIP code, and a “You May Also Like” cross-selling feature. Shoppers can share products that interest them on Facebook, Twitter, via Google Plus and via e-mail.

“The Sport Chalet m-commerce site is a very nice basic mobile commerce experience,” says Dan Shust, director of emerging media at interactive marketing firm Resource Interactive. “The interface is well laid out, and choices are well marked, easy to find and easy to navigate on a touchscreen device.”

Sport Chalet declined to comment for this story. 


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