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Friday, March 7th, 2014

Mobile Strategy Spurs Significant Growth


Running Room Ltd Reaps Benefits

Implementation of a targeted mobile strategy accelerated Running Room Ltd’s e-commerce sales to a 103% growth rate. Not only have sales grown, but other key metrics of sales effectiveness have also improved.

Introduction of a dedicated m-commerce site resulted in tremendous growth for mobile sales with virtually no cannibalization of sales from desktop and tablet users. Running Room Ltd’s web stores sales growth was a major contributor to the chains double digit growth in year-over-year sales revenue.

“Our investments in online applications whether at a desktop, laptop or on your smartphone have extended our ability to serve our customers. The results speak for themselves ”, said Michael O’Dell, Vice President, Running Room Ltd.

Strategic decisions to position Running Room Ltd as a pace setting online specialty retailer have paid significant dividends. Their strategy focused on enhancing the overall customer experience with both a free and “Pro” Mobile App, a revamped e-commerce site, a dedicated mobile e-commerce user interface designed specifically for smartphones, and a completely new responsive design (scaling to device size) for their primary web properties. It was an ambitious plan that has proven successful.

Higher transaction levels and greater conversion rates also pay dividends for Running Room Ltd. Comparing 2012 to 2013 December sales, e-commerce site traffic increased 16.44%. However, the differences in results were dramatic, total revenue increased 47%. Transaction volumes increased 40% and conversion rates were up by more than 20%.

“Our investments made sense. Website visits were up, more visitors bought product, and we gained more revenue from each transaction. Our payback period for the investment in the mobile shop was less than 90 days”, said O’Dell.

The Running Room launched its first e-commerce site over 10 years ago. A revamped e-commerce site set the stage for significant advances throughout 2013 as the company also launched its mobile e-commerce user interface in Phase 2, 8 months following the launch of the current e-commerce shop.

Running Room Ltd made a conscious decision to go with a dedicated user interface (UI) for the mobile shop. Responsive design would have been the easier route. However, this approach presents its own challenges, including slightly reduced response times and less flexibility in both design and functionality. Results reflect the impact of a separate user interface designed specifically for smartphone users. While the data acknowledges a shift in consumer behaviors, it also shows the benefits of a revamped e-commerce site that enhances the customer experience as well as the launch of an m-commerce site specifically designed for smartphone users.

“ Clearly our investment in tailoring our offering for smartphone users has made an impact. By providing an offering specifically tailored to our target market we are driving behavior rather than fighting it”, said O’Dell.

Of the increases in e-commerce revenue experienced during the holiday season, 35% of the increase came from desktop / laptop users. However, sales revenue from tablet users rose 150% and traffic from smartphone users rose 260%.

Running Room partnered with The Commercial Group (Toronto) and Gemmar Systems for its omni-channel e-commerce site, mobile user interface, and mobile applications for runners and walkers. Gemmar Systems and The Commercial Group provide a proven omni-channel solution with customized web services tied to the retail core applications, differentiating themselves from the competition by offering their customers a true real-time integrated solution. Features include live product catalog feeds, including price changes and real-time inventory availability, automated order fulfillment, as well as standard and virtual gift cards. The icing on the cake? Customers’ are able to view both in-store and online purchase history on the new shop site, and initiate a return if necessary, no matter where goods were purchased. Retail-1 retail management software from Gemmar Systems International (Montreal) and related web services provided the foundation for execution of Running Room’s strategic choices.

Running Room Ltd, (Edmonton, AB) operates 120 stores across Canada and upper Mid-West in U.S.A., specializing in footwear, apparel, and sporting goods for runners and walkers. Further information for Running Room Ltd can be obtained at www.runningroom.com. The Commercial Group (Toronto, ON) provides custom web solutions and services. Further information for The Commercial Group can be obtained at www.commer.com. Gemmar Systems International (Montreal, PQ) provides retail management software and services for small to medium specialty retail chains. Further information for Gemmar Systems International can be obtained at www.gemmar.com.

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