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K&L Wine Merchants launches mobile commerce site

October 14, 2009

K&L Wine Merchants mobile commerce site

K&L Wine Merchants' mobile commerce site

West Coast retailer K&L Wine Merchants has entered the mobile commerce arena with a new mobile Web site to extend its digital presence.

The new mobile site at was developed using Unbound Commerce Inc.’s new Mobile Presence software product, which was integrated with the Endeca Information Access Platform. This site uses Endeca’s search and merchandizing technology to give customers access to K&L Wine Merchants’ product catalog, as well as wine reviews, tasting notes and wine recommendations, using any Web-enabled phone.

“As a specialty wine retailer that sells rare collectible wines from all over the world, the Internet has become a very important channel for us,” said Brian Zucker, co-owner of K&L Wine Merchants, Redwood City, CA. “The site has gotten a lot of accolades.

“Because of the nature of our inventory, with rare bottles of wine coming in and out, our core audience uses the sites all the time to look at what’s new, what’s hot and what’s just come in,” he said. “A lot of our products are only available for a short period of time and can’t be reordered.

“Over the past few years as smartphones have become more prevalent, our audience has been looking to access our inventory using their phones, so we wanted to make it easier for our customers to browse our inventory using their handsets.”

Since 1976, K&L Wine Merchants has operated three retail stores in San Francisco, Redwood City and Hollywood, CA. It also has a highly trafficked ecommerce site at

K&L Wine Merchants is extending its reach to serve customers anytime and anywhere via the mobile Web, while delivering the rich content and interactive user experience that customers have grown to expect online.

Mobile retail specialist Unbound Commerce believes that mobile devices will transform consumer commerce in the same way that they have transformed phone service.

Unbound Commerce helps retailers establish their mobile presence using existing Web assets with the goal of deepening their engagement with customers and boosting sales via the mobile Internet.

Endeca’s Information Access Platform powers search applications such as K&L’s that let users access data in various ways using their smartphones.

Endeca’s clients include ABN AMRO, Boeing, Cox Newspapers, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Dell, Ford Motor Co., Hyatt, IBM, John Deere, the Library of Congress, Texas Instruments and

With this launch, K&L Wine Merchants’ customers can search the mobile site from anywhere to see if the retailer has a particular wine in stock, view tasting notes and check product ratings.

Because the company already had Endeca deployed, it was able to go live with its mobile site in just a couple of weeks without any disruption to its main Web site.

“When we started looking for a vendor to help us out with creating the mobile site, we knew that inventory rendering would be an issue, because we have several thousand types of wine available at a given time,” Mr. Zucker said. “We wanted to enabled mobile search based on country of origin or type of grape that they’re interested in, similar to the experience on our main wired Web site.

“Unbound Commerce mentioned they had a connector to Endeca to take our existing inventory feed and build a mobile site around that, and from there it was a complete no brainer,” he said. “It’s an experience where you can browse and navigate your way through our inventory based on specific criteria, and the real-time nature of our inventory is really important to us.

“It’s not a seasonal catalog, it changes hour by hour, so the ability to tap into mobile so quickly was a total slam dunk.”

Grape expectations
By going mobile, K&L hopes to greatly increase the number of touches it has with its customers, anytime and anywhere they have the need or desire to buy wine.

K&L claims that it saw immediate and enthusiastic customer adoption after the mobile site went live.

The company used the open application-programming interfaces (APIs) of the Endeca Information Access Platform to connect its Mobile Presence platform to Endeca’s search and merchandising technology for online retailers.

Unbound Commerce claims that its Mobile Presence platform supports all of the most popular mobile devices and automatically supports new phones as they are released.

K&L Wine Merchants’ product catalog is now accessible to any customer using a mobile phone with a browser, letting the company reach on-the-go customers.

By this coming holiday season, 70 million people in the U.S. will regularly use the mobile Web, according to eMarketer forecasts, and that represents huge growth potential for online retailers, according to Unbound Commerce.

This launch by K&L Wines is part of a fast-growing trend by retailers to invest in the mobile experience they are delivering to their customers, according to Endeca.

While K&L’s target demographic is wine collectors looking for rare wines, the retailer also caters to average foodies looking for a good table wine at an affordable price.

At this point in time, K&L’s marketing strategy to promote the site has included an announcement to its entire customer database via email, promotion via its wired Web site and online banner advertising.

“We appeal to a certain niche, people who are really into wine is our target audience, so the challenge for us from a marketing perspective is to be able to isolate that audience,” Mr. Zucker said.

“We’ve already seen significant traffic on the mobile site, as there’s an automatic redirector to the optimized mobile version when people try to visit our site using their smartphones,” he said.

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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