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Small merchants reaching consumers on mobile via Tictail

While most large online retailers have mobile sites, many small-to-midsize businesses still do not, a situation Tictail’s do-it-yourself ecommerce platform is trying to address by enabling merchants to set up and manage an online store entirely from a mobile phone.

Tictail’s mission is to empower small businesses to be as successful as possible online, especially as mobile moves to the top of retailers’ to-do lists. With more than 75,000 retailers in 140 nations using Tictail’s app to create free online stores for selling everything from clothing to porcelain kitchenware, help is available to eliminate friction points and increase conversion rates.

“Our ultimate goal is to empower retailers to build their own brand identities online,” said Carl Waldekranz, co-founder/CEO of Tictail, New York. “Merchants have independent URLs for their stores, so rather than driving traffic to Tictail, they are able to drive e-commerce traffic directly to their own Web sites.

“We want to give retailers the tools to graduate from the kitchen table and grow from a one-man or one-woman company to a larger brand,” he said. “To help with this, we want to take all the unnecessary risks for a retailer to get started away and be a resource for tips and tricks around email newsletters, Facebook advertising integration, pricing, tech setup, and more.”

Eliminating friction
While many large enterprise class retailers have redesigned mobile sites to eliminate friction points and increase conversion rates amid the surge in mobile digital traffic, Tictail claims that no ecommerce app existed to let merchants set up and manage an online store entirely from a mobile phone.

Tictail app.

“This is revolutionary when you think that the future of ecommerce – the future of business as a whole – is rooted in mobile,” Mr. Waldekranz said. “In five years, I have no doubt we’ll be seeing entire companies thinking mobile-first with small retailers being able to completely run their companies directly via mobile.”

Setting up an online store via phone takes less than five minutes when using Tictail’s platform.

First, the merchant downloads the free mobile application. Then he or she creates a profile. Once product photos are uploaded and descriptions and pricing are added in, the setup is done.

Proprietors can even manage orders, shipments, returns, email newsletters, discount codes and international pricing, all on Tictail mobile.

“Mobile commerce is growing like crazy worldwide,” Mr. Waldekranz said. “Speaking specifically to Tictail’s network, we’re seeing over 50 percent of our orders coming in from mobile (a 75 percent jump since 2014) and site visits from mobile now surpassing desktop site visits.

“We’re inspired by this consumer shift to mobile, and as such wanted to create a new product offering that could reach not only our consumers, but our merchants on the go,” he said.

Coming into 2015, online retailers needed to move mobile to the top of their to-do lists as smartphone penetration deepened and consumers became increasingly comfortable and confident making purchases on mobile.

Far stronger than expected quarterly mobile commerce revenue growth across a broad index of retailers showed why online retailers who did not accelerate mobile programs would miss an opportunity.

In an example of why a mobile-first site is a priority, a redesign of the Finish Line mobile site yielded a 100 percent conversion rate increase. Rockport saw a mobile commerce year over year revenue increase of more than 200 percent over the Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend.

Holiday traffic
And Walmart reported 70 percent of its online holiday traffic was from mobile.

Building dreams.

“We cater to entrepreneurs, micro-businesses, individuals with big dreams to build brands and companies, those who need a one stop e-commerce shop to take care of all of their business needs,” Mr. Waldekranz said.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York