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Motorcycle Superstore revs up mobile commerce initiatives

Online motorcycle accessories retailer Motorcycle Superstore is driving sales of its gear and apparel via a commerce-enabled mobile Web site.

Motorcycle Superstore partnered with software-as-a-service provider SLI Systems to power the mobile site, which lets consumers click-to-call the multichannel retailer and shop for helmets, riding gear, parts, accessories and tires using any Web-enabled handset.

“We have a very large inventory and presenting this to users through standard navigation on a mobile device can be cumbersome,” said Jason Miller, vice president of technology at Motorcycle Superstore, Medford, OR.

“Many mobile users are often price shopping at brick and motor stores so the ability to quickly search and find product pricing and availability is very important,” he said.

SLI Systems is a developer of search and navigation platforms for corporate Internet sites, content publishers, ecommerce destinations and consumer Internet portals.

Start your engines
Motorcycle Superstore tapped SLI Systems’ SLI Mobile, a hosted platform that helps retailers and other online businesses develop mobile Web sites to capture growing numbers of visitors with mobile devices.

The multichannel retailer’s new SLI Mobile-powered site features search and navigation capability and product page creation capacity built on the company’s learning engine.

SLI claims that its mobile platform is compatible with all major ecommerce mobile device platforms. It is designed to simplify the development of mobile sites so businesses can meet the growing need for users to find product and other information and buy via their iPhone, BlackBerry, Android or other Web-enabled devices.

Rapid and user-friendly site search is a critical element of mobile commerce, given the limited screen real estate and typing functionality of mobile devices, and varying data speeds from mobile providers that can hinder the search experience and deter users from completing various activities.

To counter these challenges, SLI Systems offers a lightweight, mobile-optimized search and navigation interface that can be customized to fit the standard Web site’s branding and design.

SLI Mobile also includes expandable refinement options, which help mobile device users quickly narrow down search results to find the products or content they seek.

Mobile commerce growing quickly
In SLI Systems’ recent survey of ecommerce business managers, 80 percent said they had not yet created a mobile version of their Web site, yet 83 percent are already seeing traffic from customers who come to their sites via mobile devices.

Retailers need to act quickly to bring their business to the mobile market if they want to take full advantage of shoppers on the go.

While SLI’s mobile commerce survey from earlier this year revealed that most retailers are not prepared to meet the demands of the mobile market, the survey also showed that online retailers do recognize the importance of coming to market with mobile options for their customers.

Sixty percent of online retailers surveyed said they believe a mobile commerce strategy is very important or important to their overall business, and 70 percent said they plan to launch an mobile commerce strategy within the next two years.

The dramatic growth in the mobile device market and mobile commerce is driving the need for new ways to improve the mobile shopping experience.

Research firm IDC predicts that by 2013, the number of Internet-enabled mobile devices such as smartphones will reach 1 billion, and the Coda Research Consultancy reports that U.S. mobile commerce sales reached $1.2 billion in 2009 and will double in 2010 to $2.42 billion.

Mobile functionality
In addition to search and navigation features, Motorcycle Superstore new mobile offering also includes thumbnail product images that are optimized for fast delivery on mobile devices, even for users who are not accessing data via faster 3G and 4G networks.

The mobile site also integrates with product rating and reviews, as well as social media content, to give visitors a way to view additional information that can guide their purchase-making decision.

SLI Mobile also helps ecommerce companies such as Motorcycle Superstore launch their mobile sites more quickly by powering mobile product pages.

Like site search, these product pages can be customized to match branding and site design.

SLI uses a Web site’s existing site search product data feed to create the pages, and can also be implemented as a mobile application to further streamline the mobile shopping experience.

“The integration with our mobile platform and SLI allows us to offer users a seamless way to quickly shop our Web site no matter what mobile device they are using,” Mr. Miller said.

Final Take
Multichannel retailer