A recent report claiming that mobile commerce will account for less than 2 percent of retail sales in four years led a few readers to question mobile’s potential. To them I introduce Dover Saddlery.
Dover Saddlery is the leading multichannel retailer of equestrian products in the United States with sales last year of $78 million. When Dover noticed a steady increase in customers’ use of mobile devices to place orders, the Massachusetts company moved swiftly to embrace mobile commerce and improve the tablet and smartphone experiences its riders clearly wanted. This year, Dover projects about 8.8 percent of its sales will come from mobile commerce — 44 percent more than a year earlier. That’s what paying attention to your customers can do for you.
While there is research that shows nearly half of mobile purchases are made by customers inside their own homes, Dover Saddlery customers are logging in from the barn and on the go. “It makes a lot of sense that they would then use their Internet-connected devices to both browse and shop as they come across new things they may want to buy, or restock things they are running low on,” says Dover’s director of e-commerce, Monique Trulson.
An example for smaller retailers
Dover customers can set up recurring orders and take advantage of personalized offers. About 11 percent of Dover’s website traffic comes from mobile, according to Trulson, and of that figure, nearly two-thirds are using tablets.
That knowledge led the company to optimize the electronic version of its catalog to take advantage of the iPad’s capabilities and highlight products in new and exciting ways, Trulson said. The online catalog launched in September and Dover is expanding its other mobile offerings as well. Trulson said it’s currently exploring responsive web design, which adapts its presentation to the device being used to access it.
Dover Saddlery’s successes are proof that small and niche retailers can gain the same benefits from mobile that have been claimed by their larger brethren. Mobile can expand a smaller company’s reach by creating a well-functioning shopping experience that saves customers time and trouble. “In many cases, your mobile site can help you capture those impulse purchases inspired as people are out and about and introduced to your products in social situations,” Trulson said.
Advance work is key
Isn’t creating a mobile-friendly site a lot of work? Trulson says no – it means “very little extra work as you determine how valuable this traffic is for your company.” She says the advance work is key: Setting up your analytics then monitoring them and learning to interpret what the reports are telling you. With those in place, you’re ready to build mobile solutions to suit your audience.
Trulson says Dover is dedicated to analyzing trends in customer behavior as well as monitoring feedback from social media. And a great number of its employees are involved in the equestrian community themselves, giving rise to their tagline, “We put our riding experience to work for you every day.”
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