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Ethel M brings in-store experience to mobile users

Ethel M Chocolates, which maintains multiple stores in Las Vegas, sought to redo its ecommerce Web site to help translate the in-store brand experience online and encourage mobile sales. 

Given that its bricks-and-mortar stores are constantly stormed with tourists, Ethel M wanted to create that same amount of traffic online for those not in the Las Vegas area. Ultimately, a rise in mobile sales and social influencing led Ethel M to think mobile optimization would be beneficial for sales.

“As we see our gourmet chocolate consumer base skew younger and become more engaged with mobile devices, there is an expectation for us to offer all of the same qualities of physical store on your computer, and now more than ever, even via mobile devices,” said Oren Young, general manager at Ethel M Chocolates, New York. “Our customer only sees one brand logo for Ethel M Chocolates, whether you are online or in one of our stores, and we need to offer excellent experiences at every touch point.

“And that includes bringing the personalized services from our brick-and-mortar stores to your online and mobile device experience,” he said.

Times are changing
Ethel M wanted to make for a suitable shopping experience on mobile devices, which garners a large percentage of orders, especially for last-minute gifts.

Ethel M worked with MarketLive to design the new site.

The responsive design capabilities of MarketLive’s commerce platform now allow Ethel M to manage both its regular Web site and mobile Web sites simultaneously from the same code base.

The re-launch involves intelligent imaging, allowing for zooms, different views and increases sizes of images, a kit-building feature allowing customer creation of customized boxes of candies, and an administrable interface for product lead time configurations for single and multiple shipment capabilities.

Evidence to show
It is quickly becoming more likely seen than not that brands are opting for mobile-optimized Web sites.

For example, fashion label Calvin Klein recently initiated a global ecommerce expansion strategy, for which mobile and social play significant roles in providing a seamless customer experience.

The fashion label is seeing increasing traffic and sales volumes via mobile, prompting the redesign. Closing in on customization, the new site aims to best accommodate the customer through their journey while exemplifying the brand’s image (see story).

Also, supported by an in-store QR code campaign, shoe manufacturer Rockport drove a 350 percent mcommerce increase between Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year compared to last year, likely caused by its Web site redesign.

The new site was made to drive revenue, transactions and average order volume. Further intended to eliminate friction and provide a better experience for mobile users, the site, built by Unbound Commerce, is powered by an API-based integration with its Demandware ecommerce platform rather than responsive design (see story).

“Ethel M will be exploring the next level of omni-channel capabilities, as well as bring some of those new interactive experiences to our retail stores,” Mr. Young said. “We will also continue to focus on customizing the gourmet chocolate experience for every guest, starting with the expansion of our ‘Design Your Own’ chocolate box capabilities online, where we give the consumer the power to personalize their gifts, down to each individual piece of chocolate.”

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York