June 18, 2013, 12:50 PM

The Container Store adds stacks of new features to its redesigned mobile site

Smartphone traffic increased 62% last year and will continue to grow rapidly, the retailer says.

Storage retailer The Container Store Inc. has redesigned its mobile commerce site to provide more desktop-like shopping functionality for its growing base of smartphone shoppers, says online marketing director Jessica Coogan. The new features include visual navigation, ratings and reviews, and pop-up overlays that allow customers to add items to the cart or post to social networks without going to another page, she says.

“Knowing that smartphone traffic and sales are rapidly increasing, we knew we had a huge opportunity to provide our customers with content they were only able to view on our full site in the past,” Coogan says. “We also wanted to make the mobile experience as personalized as possible.”

Smartphone traffic for The Container Store increased 62% in the last year, and today accounts for 18% of the retailer’s online traffic; by the end of 2013, the retailer expects mobile commerce via smartphone will account for 2-3% of total web sales, she says. “We anticipate this percentage to grow rapidly over the next few years,” she adds.

The Container Store does not include tablets in its mobile traffic and sales numbers because the merchant serves the desktop e-commerce site to tablet shoppers. (Most retailers view tablets as mobile devices and include tablets in mobile commerce figures.) The Container Store, however, plans to evaluate building a tablet-specific site soon, Coogan says. It selected m-commerce vendor Usablenet Inc. to build the new smartphone site.

The redesigned mobile phone site allows the retailer to highlight six campaigns or promotions on the home page at one time, Coogan says. The home page also features a grid of visual icons to represent product categories. “This simple navigational interface allows for a great deal of content to be presented in a visually compelling way,” says Usablenet chief marketing officer Carin van Vuuren. Banners on the site also include icons that a customer can tap to bring up the name and price of the product with a link to the product page.

Three new site features—a pared-down shopping cart, ratings and reviews, and social media—make use of overlay technology so that a customer doesn’t need to leave a web page to use them. Rather, when she wants to add an item to her cart, read or write a product review, or post a message about a product on social networks, she can do so in an overlay box that pops up atop the page. Once she’s finished, she can go right back to where she was on the page.

“Usablenet’s technology allowed us to implement features previously found only on our desktop site—such as banners and home page icons—that we can switch out at a moment’s notice to constantly provide customers with new items and special deals,” Coogan says. “We are pleased with the site’s enhanced navigation functionalities and anticipate strong growth in mobile traffic and conversion as a result.”

The Container Store is No. 300 in the 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide and No. 298 in the 2013 Mobile 400. Usablenet provides m-commerce technology for 51 retailers in the Mobile 400. It ranks No. 3 among m-commerce technology providers in Internet Retailer’s Leading Vendors to the Top 1000 E-Retailers guide.

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