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Tool King builds mobile commerce platform to drive sales

Multichannel retailer Tool King has launched an application letting consumers browse and buy its assortment of new and factory-reconditioned professional power tools.

With the Magento Inc.-powered Tool King mobile application, consumers can order tools from their workshop, garage or jobsite from their iPhone or iPod touch. offers thousands of products from brands such as DeWalt, Makita, Bosch, Festool, Fein, Jet, Powermatic and Milwaukee.

“Our demographic is typically men ages 25-65 that require professional-quality tools,” said Ben Skigen, ecommerce director at, Lakewood, CO.

“The tools we sell are utilized in some context in nearly every industry, so we have customers ranging from contractors to carpenters to artists to spacecraft engineers.

“Our new Magento-powered app has given us an enormous head start in the quickly growing mobile commerce market,” he said. “Thanks to Magento, developing it was much easier than we ever anticipated and we’re very pleased with the result.”

Tool King is a distributor of new and reconditioned brand-name power tools via its bricks-and-mortar locations, Web site and now its mobile application.

Magento helps online merchants launch mobile Web sites and applications.

Mobile shopping tool
The new Tool King application, available in Apple’s App Store, includes real-time product-catalog information, including inventory, pricing and images, streamed directly from the retailer’s ecommerce platform.

The application is fully integrated with Tool King’s back-office product catalog, as well as account log-in and checkout functionality.

If users register for an account on the Web site and add a product to their cart, they will be able to login and complete that transaction on the mobile device.

The application is a branded shopping experience that can be changed in real time via the new Magento Mobile CMS admin.

The application features native shopping features such as swipe functionality on the product list and “cover flow” product-image gallery.

Mr. Skigen said that at the time Took King found Magento in mid-2009, its existing ecommerce platform was constraining its growth: It was outdated, difficult to work with and it lacked scalability.

“Magento offered flexibility, support and growth potential untouched by other platforms in its class,” Mr. Skigen said. “Back then, we knew a mobile application was going to become a major consideration in the next few years and thought that Magento would be a great foundation for the eventual development of an app.

“However, we anticipated having to develop it from scratch, and the sheer magnitude of that project kept it on the backburner,” he said.

“When we first learned about Magento Mobile a few months ago, its ease of deployment not only radically changed the entire way we were thinking about developing a mobile app, but it also reaffirmed our original decision to use Magento as our platform.”

To get the word out about the application, Tool King is initially leveraging its social followers and its in-house email database.

The retailer will be adding links to all of its Web sites to promote the application. It is also encouraging its staff to inform their friends and any customers they interact with.

Tool King is planning to add user-targeted push notifications in the near future.

“At Magento, we’re laser focused on building products that enable our 70,000-plus merchants to become industry leaders across multiple channels,” said Tim Schulz, senior product and business development manager at Magento, Culver City, CA.

“With the holiday-shopping season right around the corner, Tool King’s adoption of Magento Mobile is a testament to how top online retailers are branching out to reach their customers anytime, anywhere,” he said.

Final Take