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Case Study : Mobile-Optimized Websites Drive Sales for Bluestem Brands

January 31, 2013 By Joe Keenan

PROBLEM: Bluestem Brands, parent company of cross-channel retailers Fingerhut and Gettington, lacked mobile-optimized websites.

SOLUTION: Partnered with a mobile web platform provider.

RESULTS: Since launching mobile-optimized websites for Fingerhut in May and Gettington in July of last year, Bluestem Brands has seen its mobile traffic increase from 10 percent of overall traffic to nearly 20 percent of overall traffic. Both retailers' sites also saw over 20 percent improvements in conversion rate, pages per visit, average length of visit and revenue per visit.

It wasn't that Bluestem Brands didn't have a mobile presence for its two primary retail brands — Fingerhut and Gettington — in the early part of 2012, it's just that it wasn't optimized for viewing/shopping on the smaller screens of smartphones and tablets. Consumers using these mobile devices were presented with the same site they got if they were on a PC looking at Fingerhut.com or Gettington.com. Even with this poor user experience, the brands were seeing between 10 percent and 15 percent of their overall traffic coming from mobile devices. Clearly there was an opportunity at hand.

"Our customer base was moving towards mobile," says Lee Zukor, director of e-commerce at Bluestem Brands. "We had a high percentage of customers who were transacting with us even given the imperfect nature of having to deal with our entire website on a very small screen. We knew that customer base — people who wanted to transact with us via mobile devices — was continuing to grow. There was a big opportunity there. Our customers and the industry told us that."

Bluestem Brands went through an extensive RFP process in an effort to find a mobile technology company that could satisfy its needs. Cloud-based platform provider Moovweb emerged as the clear choice, in large part because of its ability to quickly get its clients’ mobile sites up and running.

When creating its mobile sites, Bluestem Brands didn't have to change any of the content or back-end functionality (e.g., search and checkout) that was present on Fingerhut's or Gettington's desktop sites. The mobile sites were created in weeks using Moovweb's platform, which virtualizes front-end development without touching any back-end code. This "perfect proxy" approach transformed Bluestem's desktop sites in real time, enabling 100 percent of the desktop web assets to be used on the mobile sites without the extra cost and time needed to rewrite the sites for mobile devices.

 

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