Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Sporting goods manufacturer Mizuno kicks off mobile commerce initiative

Sporting goods and apparel brand Mizuno USA Inc. is dipping its toe in mobile commerce with the goal of driving sales and expediting order fulfillment.

To power its mobile commerce site, Mizuno tapped Shopatron Inc., which has launched 800-plus mobile commerce stores for its client brands. Shopatron claims that the arrival of brands such as Mizuno, JL Audio, Head Tyrolia, Scott, Segway, Stanley Furniture, Ernie Ball and Wild Birds Unlimited is indicative of a larger trend of branded manufacturers seeking a presence on mobile phones.

“Two significant components drive our partnership with Shopatron: No. 1, its Coex capability, which allows us to utilize our extensive retail partner base in the fulfillment of our online orders, and No. 2, Shopatron’s ongoing commitment to staying at the fore-front of ecommerce,” said Keith Neely, vice president of information technology and customer support at Mizuno USA, Atlanta.

“Our target demographic is the sports enthusiast on any age that is passionate about being the best athlete that he or she can be,” he said. “We have limited IT and marketing resources.

“Shopatron helps to fill in the gaps within our own organization by exploring and ultimately implementing the technologies that make sense.”

Mizuno Corp. is a Japanese company that makes a variety of sports equipment and sportswear for golf, tennis, baseball, volleyball, football, soccer, running, rugby, skiing, cycling, judo and table tennis.

With Shopatron’s platform for branded manufacturers, Coex Freedom, brands sell on their Web site and send those orders to their retail partners for fulfillment.

Shopatron’s platform for multichannel retailers, Coex Private, lets retailers fulfill orders from all inventory centers, including both retail stores and distribution centers.

Shopatron’s distributed order management model also enables in-store pickup and ship-to-store capabilities that drive traffic into brick-and-mortar locations for additional services and add-on sales.

In addition to Mizuno, Shopatron clients include brands such as Callaway Golf, Suzuki, Polaroid, Ducati, American Tire Distributors and Sport Chalet.

Shopping via the mobile Web
When shoppers using common mobile devices such as BlackBerry, Palm, Android or the iPhone type in the URL of any of the over 600 ecommerce stores, including Mizuno’s, they will automatically be redirected to a mobile-optimized version of the online store.

The mcommerce sites provide detailed product information such as product specifications, pricing and detailed imagery.

Additionally, the mobile sites offer features such as alternate views, “contact us” forms, featured products, shopping cart, site search and product zoom.

“At this point, we’re not exactly sure how a mobile shopping site can help our bottom line,” Mr. Neely said. “We do know that the mobile marketplace is growing.

“Through our partnership with Shopatron, we have put ourselves in a position to test and learn,” he said.

Here is a screen grab of Mizuno’s mobile commerce site:

More manufacturing brand clients want to provide their customers and potential customers the best access to the brand from anywhere via mobile commerce Web sites, per Shopatron.

Shopatron stores client product data in a standardized model that lets the company quickly repurpose that data into new formats—in this case, a mobile-optimized online shop.

After this initial standard release, clients will be able to customize their sites as they wish.

“For a branded manufacturer, mobile has the potential to become more important than the desktop Web,” said Mark Grondin, senior vice president of marketing at Shopatron, San Luis Obispo, CA. “A majority of a brand’s sales still happen in bricks-and-mortar stores.

“And as more people use their smartphones during shopping for things like gathering product information, comparing prices and reading product reviews, brands need to have the best information available on those devices,” he said. “A good product review that is easily available on a mobile phone may make the difference between someone buying their product or their competitors’.

“For brands, mobile is all about selling their products, whether those products are actually purchased in a store or directly on the phone.”

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily