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Columbia Sportswear outlines mobile commerce strategy

March 10, 2010

columbia-croppColumbia Sportswear has launched a mobile storefront to reach outdoor enthusiasts with its product line wherever they may be.

Columbia used Demandware’s mobile commerce services to create a rich multichannel shopping experience for customers. By pointing their mobile browsers to, outdoor enthusiasts can learn more about Columbia, its product line and shop on the fully  mobile commerce-enabled site.

Giselle Tsirulnik, senior editor of Mobile Commerce Daily interviewed Paul Zaengle senior director of ecommerce at Columbia Sportswear regarding the company’s mobile strategy in terms of commerce, inventory management, fulfillment and returns.

Here is what he had to say:

What is the strategy here for Columbia? Is this site meant to be an additional sales channel?
The goal of the site is not to be an additional sales channel. The site is meant to provide a digital experience appropriate to the consumer’s device.

We are seeing a large number of consumers accessing our brand on their mobile phones, so we wanted to create an experience optimal to those devices.

Why is it important for retailers and brands to have a mobile commerce presence?
Consumers need to be able to access retailers and brands in whatever way they feel best. If a consumer is on the go, or prefers to access via a mobile device like so many today do, then they need access that is optimized for that experience.

Has Columbia done anything else in the mobile space? Mobile advertising? SMS campaigns? Or is this the brand’s first foray into mobile?
Columbia also has begun developing mobile applications.

Our first mobile application, “What Knot to do in the Greater Outdoors” has been downloaded more than 60,000 times, and is ranked one of the top 150 Utility applications for iPhones. 

Here are some screen grabs of the “What Knot to do in the Greater Outdoors” application:



We have much more planned and in development.

We also do SMS as an added value for customers who want to send store locations to their mobile phones.

How do you select which products to display on the mobile site? Or is the entire inventory on the mobile site? Basically what is the inventory management strategy?
The entire inventory that is available on is also available on our mobile site. 

We want consumers to have access to a broad range of products, whether they are purchasing on their phones, or they are using the site for research in one of our partner’s stores. 

Customers can easily see the product ratings and reviews, which is a key decision point for consumers these days.

Here is a screen grab of a product page on the mobile commerce-enabled site:


What about fulfillment and returns? How does that work for the mobile site?
The transactions are handled exactly like an ecommerce order. If someone chooses to join our “Greater Rewards” loyalty program, they can get free shipping on their orders!

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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