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Sundance Catalog doubles mobile sales thanks to new site

Following the launch of its first mobile-optimized site in the fall, Sundance Catalog saw the number of orders placed through handsets increase by 2.1 times and mobile revenue increase by 2.4 times in the fourth-quarter of 2011.

Seeing a steady increase in the number of shoppers coming from mobile devices, catalog retailer Sundance Catalog launched a mobile commerce site in the late fall using Warp’s Mobile Direct mobile commerce solution to convert its existing ecommerce Web site to a mobile-optimized site. The site also helped drive up the number of mobile visitors by 1.8 times compared with the fourth quarter of 2010.

“Before they had a mobile site, they were doing a large amount of sales already through mobile,” said Andrew Van Noy, executive vice president of Warp 9, Santa Barbara, CA.

“People are already on their phone, and they needed an easy solution,” he said. “The mobile site is very similar to the desktop site so customers are able to take what they know about the desktop site and have that same experience on their phone.”

Sundance Catalog sells handmade jewelry, casual clothing, unique gifts and home décor.

IPad strategy up next
Other mobile holiday results reported by Sundance Catalog include that 2.1 times more pages were viewed compared with the fourth quarter of 2010, and the conversion rate increased from 3.77 percent to 4.09 percent.

Sundance Catalog promoted the mobile site to its loyal customers via email and in the print catalog.

The mobile site enables users to track their orders and perform any function available on the ecommerce site from a mobile phone. It features pre-loaded accordion menus, products and product images for smooth and easy navigation.

The site is deeply integrated into the desktop site and back-end services to insure that the most current product inventory and specials are displayed to customers.

Users can also share products via Facebook and Twitter.

Going forward, Sundance Catalog is looking at developing iPad-specific solutions such as an iPad app and an iPad-optimized site.

“They have a very loyal iPad following,” Mr. Van Noy said. “That is where the highest conversion rate is, from iPad shoppers.

“They are looking to extend to the shopping experience to these users to make it more unique and fun,” he said.

The Sundance Catalog Co. was founded by actor and director Robert Redford to promote the works of artists and craftsmen. Its products are found in the catalog, via an ecommerce site, at an outlet store and in several retail stores.

“Any retailer has the opportunity to encourage shoppers to browse and buy via a smartphone,” Mr. Van Noy said.

“The difference with the Sundance Catalog is that its mobile site is built on a solution that is fast and seamless, with tons of things already preloaded,” he said.

“This means when customers are browsing, they do not have to wait for product images to load and they are able to shop quickly, which keeps the user engaged. Because they are engaged, they can browse fast, find what they are looking for and make a purchase.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York