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Restaurant Equippers cooks up mobile site to showcase top brands

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May 27, 2015

Restaurant Equippers' site on smartphone.

Restaurant Equippers’ site on smartphone.

Restaurant Equippers, a restaurant supplier that sells top brands such as Rubbermaid and KitchenAid, has launched a mobile site that lets users shop for and purchase products through an interface that aims to deliver a better mobile consumer experience and maximize conversion rates.

The Unbound Commerce-built site, m.Equippers.com, offers Ecommerce features and functionality to mobile users, without using screen scraping, or programming that translates between legacy application programs and new user interfaces. Featuring pageload times rated up to six times faster than responsive design and up to three times faster than transcoding, the site points to the importance of providing visitors to a mobile site with quick load speeds and ease of use, to increase engagement and conversions.

“As mobile commerce fast becomes minimum ante for online retailers, industrial and commercial merchants are catching up and realizing the importance of offering a dedicated mobile experience,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president for business development and sales with Unbound Commerce, Boston.

“In some ways, a mobile site is even more important for B2B sites, since the intent to buy is typically stronger and, as such, conversion rates can be dramatically increased with the launch of a mobile site.”

Big orders
Since it was launched May 20, Restaurant Equippers has seen large orders come through the new mobile site, Mr. Kerr said. Details were not disclosed.

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Navigating companies’  wares by business or product.

The Equippers.com mobile site caters to the specific needs of a business’s customer base. Restaurant owners can choose to buy online or to pick-up in-store, because real-time inventory availability is integrated into the mobile site.  

Customers can navigate the site according to business and products – for instance bakery, ice cream or pizza.

As United States smartphone adoption crossed 60 percent and mobile traffic to Restaurant Equippers’ site increased exponentially, the company wanted to deliver the best-possible consumer experience, while integrating with its current Ecommerce operations.

Mobile buying behavior is different, and Restaurant Equippers wanted the flexibility of a dedicated mobile site, allowing the company to deliver mobile-specific features and functionality, downstream, as mobile commerce grows and evolves, Eric Myers, director of Ecommerce operations at Restaurant Equippers, was quoted in a release.

The site aims to enhance the mobile experience by providing ratings and reviews and product-specific social media integration.

It also features a location-enabled store locator, pick-up in-store options, and customizable mobile banner displays, so specific promotions can be used to drive traffic and tracked conversions.

Custom landing pages can be generated and QR codes produced at the click of a button to link offline, physical touch-points to new mobile conversions.

Site speed and performance often are among the most under-appreciated priorities for every mobile and responsive project. Design and development teams frequently focus on interactive and visual bells and whistles, but they do not take time to carefully think through how to make their sites as lightweight as possible, structure their code to avoid single points of failure that can slow their site load speed or make it fail entirely in some contexts.

Restaurant Equippers, which has served the food service industry for more than 40 years, offers food service equipment and supplies at low warehouse prices, available for immediate in-store pickup or delivery.

Its dive into mobile comes as restaurant chains step up experimentation with mobile as customers increasingly embrace search, reviews and ordering from restaurants via smartphones. 

Fast-casual chains need to be available to customers on mobile, not just due to the on-the-go nature of their business but to meet accelerating demands for faster service triggered by the mobile mind-shift.

The list of tactics restaurants have tapped so far includes mobile applications, responsive sites, virtual reality, QR codes and messaging to name a few. The advent of Apple Pay and Apple Watch are expected to quicken the pace of experimentation.

Game-changer
Owners and managers are often in the kitchen when a need for a piece of equipment arises in outfitting a new restaurant.

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Making it easier to find top brands faster.

“Lugging a laptop around is not always possible,” Mr. Kerr said. “The ability to quickly and easily use mobile to order a needed piece of equipment on the fly can be a game-changer in an industry that operates on tight margins, with a very low tolerance for equipment downtime.”

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

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