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Herrschners sews up mobile-optimized merchandising for holiday sales boost

Crafts retailer Herrschners is hoping to button up fourth-quarter holiday sales by optimizing its merchandise for smartphone screens and consolidating six mini-sites with a single checkout so that consumers may purchase items from all of its brands at the same time.

The retailer has teamed up with multi-site ecommerce platform MarketLive to roll out the integration ahead of the busy winter shopping period. The mobile focus of the revamping is meant to enable much quicker execution of all purchasing and browsing initiatives for customers, a move that will also likely help drive impulse purchases among passionate crafters.

“The benefit of the single checkout integration is that the customer can shop all of Herrschners’ brands simultaneously, then check out a single time,” said Ken Burke, founder and CEO of MarketLive, Petaluma, CA. “The checkout experience is also optimized with MarketLive’s technology to reduce the number of clicks required to complete payment.

“Both of these are essential for the ever-growing revenues coming from mobile sales.”

Digitizing the catalog
Herrschners, whose catalog has been in circulation for a century, is aiming to take a more digital and mobile outlook to commerce. Its new platform went live on October 15.

The mobile and online offerings feature six mini-sites for design enthusiasts, retailing items from puzzles to knitting yarn. MarketLive was tasked with the challenge of integrating these sites to allow for a more streamlined and seamless checkout process, as well as redesigning the mobile site to be optimized for smaller screen browsing.

Herrschners found itself lacking the necessary tools to merchandise its items well, due to its lagging adoption of responsive design. The revamped platform enables shoppers to add products from all six mini-sites into their carts and check out in a single transaction.

The new native responsive design also offers more speed and quicker execution of all marketing goals.

The mobile site features a shopping cart symbol on the upper right corner that displays the total cost of selected items. Users can more easily toggle through the different craft section to browse items and filter by a slew of options, including top picks, new arrivals and price.

Customers can also sign into their accounts via their smartphones.

The mobile-optimized checkout allows consumers to complete their purchases in very few steps, eliminating the friction of waiting for new pages to load and losing filled-in information in the meantime.

Underneath the item prices, shoppers may input a promotional code as well as their state of residence and shipping preference to estimate total cost. They can then continue shopping, save their current shopping cart or press the checkout button to enter payment details.

Teaming up with MarketLive’s ecommerce solution was a smart move for the crafts retailer, especially as consumers begin looking for holiday gifts and purchasing presents via smartphones to circumvent long lines in bricks-and-mortar stores.

Getting crafty with mobile
Herrschners is not the only brand in its sector attempting to boost its mobile experience for time-strapped customers.

While arts and crafts retailer Michael’s built its ecommerce site with inspirational content, including projects that are trending on Pinterest, to cater to on-the-go mobile users, its use of responsive design last year resulted in a clunky experience for smartphone shoppers, with long load times for pages and overlapping content (see story).

Checkout is easier to conduct on mobile device

However, going mobile has been a positive experience for many marketers with a strong online presence.

Online retailer has narrowed the gap between desktop and mobile conversions by adopting one-tap checkout and after-delivery payment for smartphone users (see story).

“Mobile-specific merchandising is critical because it can take advantage of the phone being in-store or near-store,” Mr. Burke said. “Local offers and coupons and notices of in-store events via text message are some examples.

“We saw in our holiday survey results published last week that shoppers are ready for this type of mobile merchandising and they are expecting retailers to give them a really great shopping experience on their mobile devices.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely, staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York