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Golfsmith exec: Consumers buying $1,200 merchandise via mobile

NEW YORK – A Golfsmith executive at the National Retail Federation conference said that consumers’ mobile shopping habits are changing, with several customers buying $1,200 golf iron sets via its mobile store.

Consumers are increasingly looking to mobile devices for their shopping needs, especially as Web-enabled handsets and affordable data plans become commonplace. The “Embracing the Cross-Channel Mobile Opportunity” session was moderated by Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.

“In 2009 smartphones outpaced desktop purchases,” said Jamey Maki, director of ecommerce and online experience at Golfsmith, Austin, TX. “That number is expected to explode in the next couple of years.

“Smartphones are now the standard,” he said. “We took the stance that mobile represents a fundamental shift in the way our consumers are discovering and buying our prodcuts across all channels.”

Mr. Maki said that as companies look to enter the mobile space they should find someone to develop their mobile site or application.

Swing into mobile
Golfsmith chose mobile provider Digby to help with its application and mobile-optimized site.

According to Mr. Maki the company is considering rolling out Android and BlackBerry applications in the future.

“We started with a mobile site first – optimizing for all devices,” Mr. Maki said. “Then we drove consumers to our applications.

“Pushing coupons and QR codes are all features that we’re looking at,” he said. “A mobile-optimized Web site reaches the broadest audience.”

Storefront features
Golfsmith’s iPhone application features product videos.

When consumers click on their desired items they can view a video of a salesperson talking about the product.

“It creates a more personalized experience for consumers,” Mr. Maki said. “It’s as if we’re bringing that salesperson to your phone.

“Another key best practice is having a page on your Web site that explains all the features of your mobile site or application with a link to the mobile landing page,” he said.

For brands looking to incorporate mobile into their initiatives, Mr. Maki recommended that they first set up a mobile site and include product details, reviews and photos.

Then, companies should leverage mobile more in their cross-channel marketing and continuously enhance their mobile Web and application experiences.

“As marketers we’re consistently thinking of selling,” Mr. Maki said. “The mobile experience is more than that people are really using it as a problem solving device.

“Also, don’t forget about the importance of analytics,” he said. “Once you launch your site, you can get that from any major analytics package.

“We found that for some reason people are buying $1,200 golf iron sets via their mobile device.”

Consumers can shop golf sets via Golfsmith’s mobile application

Final Take
Rimma Kats is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York