January 3, 2013, 3:34 PM

Retailers expect their traffic to soar after rolling out mobile-optimized sites

Retailers expect their traffic to soar after rolling out mobile-optimized sites.

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Over the past year Stella & Dot executives noticed a trend. An increasing number of its "stylists," consumers who throw trunk show parties and sell Stella & Dot jewelry and accessories to family and friends, were taking their tablets, mostly iPads, with them to parties. The tablets enable them to highlight the whole catalog of products and to take orders then and there, rather than wait until they get home to input orders on a desktop computer.

With stylists accounting for up to 90% of the retailer's traffic, the retailer says it had to take note. Moreover, of the traffic to StellaDot.com that comes straight from consumers, 30% is mobile, and 80% of that mobile traffic is from tablets, the e-retailer reports. 90% of that tablet traffic comes from Apple Inc. iPads.

To provide a better experience for those mobile shoppers, Stella & Dot worked with mobile commerce technology vendor Mobify to launch a version of its e-commerce site optimized for tablets.

The retailer expects the tablet-optimized site will drive results. "I would not be surprised if tablet traffic doubles between now and next year," says Eduardo Frias, chief information officer at Stella & Dot. "Our technology roadmap for next year is heavily laden with smartphone-friendly and tablet-friendly initiatives to keep taking advantage of the boom in tablets and smartphones."

The tablet site reorients and resizes elements of the retailer's home page so that all content Stella & Dot deems most important is "above the fold" on the home screen, meaning a consumer does not need to swipe down to see it. Pages adjust their layout appropriately when a consumer switches from holding a tablet in portrait mode to landscape mode. Buttons are significantly bigger. Font sizes are bigger. Drop-down menus are bigger. The e-retailer added a carousel feature to the home page that responds to swiping.

Stella & Dot made a five-figure investment in the tablet-optimized site and expects both average order value and conversion to increase on the new site designed for tablets.

If Frias' predictions hold true, Stella & Dot might see results in line with those of e.l.f. cosmetics, which launched a mobile commerce version of its site EyesLipsFace.com in November. The cosmetics retailer, which is owned by JA Cosmetics Corp., almost immediately saw its traffic stemming from iPhones rise nearly 600% year over year and revenue from iPhone visits jump 500%.

Smartphone traffic accounts for up to 40% of EyesLipsFace.com's total traffic.

"In the first 20 days we have taken 3,300 orders for $100,000," says Cory Pulice, vice president of e-commerce at e.l.f. cosmetics. "We know the site and the design are working, people are transacting on it."

The m-commerce site was built in collaboration with the retailer's e-commerce platform provider BlueSwitch.



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