Ace Hardware goes mobile to drive consumers in-store
Ace Hardware Corp., a retailer-owned hardware cooperative, has launched the Ace mobile site to makes it easier than ever for consumers to maintain their home using their mobile phones.
Ace tapped TrueAction, a GSI Commerce company, for the creation of the mobile site at http://acehardware.com. The hardware giant decided to go mobile to provide its customers with the ability to search their local Ace ads, find the nearest Ace store and link to its social sites all using their handsets.
“Over the past year, we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of traffic coming to AceHardware.com from mobile devices,” said Mark Lowe, ecommerce marketing supervisor at Ace Hardware, Oak Brook, IL. “Today, consumers expect to get information how and when they want.
“The mobile phone has become a communication hub for many consumers, so it’s critical that Ace provide a mobile-optimized solution for them,” he said. “To meet this demand, we need to be able to provide our customers with the most helpful mobile experience possible.”
Ace claims to be the largest hardware cooperative in the industry, with 4,500 locally owned-and-operated hardware, home-center and building-materials stores across all 50 states and more than 60 countries.
TrueAction is a partner with GSI Commerce, Ace’s ecommerce platform provider.
“By choosing TrueAction, it allows us to leverage many of the features already available on our ecommerce Web site, AceHardware.com,” Mr. Lowe said.
Ace is the place
A primary motivating factor that convinced Ace to launch a mobile site is the fact that consumers are increasingly using their mobile phones to research products and compare prices while they are out shopping.
Ace’s WAP site features a mobile store locator with Google maps, helping consumers find their local Ace store by street address, city, state or ZIP code.
Users can access local store information such as hours of operation, services provided, maps, driving directions and brands sold in store.
The Local Weekly Ads section lets consumers browse their local Ace ads and view sale items and product details near their location.
“With our new mobile Web site, consumers will be able to find their local Ace, view Google maps and driving directions, and see the store’s hours, services and departments,” Mr. Lowe said. “They’ll also be able to view their local ad right from our mobile site.”
A social networking component is a must for mobile sites these days, so the Ace WAP site offers links to Ace’s Facebook page, YouTube and Twitter channels, giving users the opportunity to stay current on all Ace-related news and videos on DIY-home repair.
“We provide links to our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube presences so consumers can stay connected with us and receive helpful content on-the-go,” Mr. Lowe said.
Currently Ace does not have mobile commerce on the site. However, Mr. Lowe said that it is a logical next step and something the company is working towards.
Ace is not new to mobile. The company ran a mobile ad campaign this holiday season (see story).
“Users visiting AceHardware.com from their mobile phone will automatically be served up the mobile version of the site so it will be seamless for them,” Mr. Lowe said.
“To build on that base of organic traffic, we will be spreading the word with messaging on acehardware.com, our circular ads and through email campaigns,” he said.