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The Sportsman’s Guide ups investment in mobile to reach on-the-go outdoorsmen

December 9, 2011

The Sportsman's Guide's mobile site

Outdoor cataloger and online retailer The Sportsman’s Guide is making a bigger investment in mobile with a new mobile site, new apps and enhanced functionality as it looks to broaden its reach.

The Sportsman’s Guide launched its first mobile site in the summer of 2010 to test the waters. Based on what it learned from that experience, the company recently introduced a more robust mobile site, released a new Android app this week and there is more mobile news to come in the near future.

“We had a limited site for our first launch and had a very small success but we did identify that our customers are willing to use a mobile platform,” said Dale Monson, chief information officer and senior vice president of operations for The Sportsman’s Guide at St. Paul, MN.

“We’ve been a catalog company for 35 years and are transitioning to more of a multichannel merchant with an online presence,” he said. “Mobile is another way to be in the market and meet customer were they are at.”

New markets
The Sportsman’s Guide worked with Netbiscuits on the new site, which was launched in May featuring more than 800 videos, easy drop down menus for searching over 200,000 products and a simple log-in for checkout.

Since the site launched, The Sportsman’s Guide has seen a significant increase in sales coming from mobile on both its mobile site and its native site.

“It is astonishing the results that we are seeing – our traffic and sales are up significantly,” Mr. Monson said.

The data shows that the mobile site is helping the brand reach new customers.

“It is not just existing customers who are using the mobile platform,” Mr. Monson said. “It is a great avenue to give us exposure into the new markets that we haven’t been able to get access into in the past.

The new mobile strategy is also helping the brand to increase mobile as a percentage of overall ecommerce sales.

“The percentage of sales is up significantly from 2012 and we continue to see good growth in that area,” Mr. Monson said. “We see this as a growth opportunity for us over the next two years where we will drive a lot of additional growth from.”

The brand is increasing its investment in mobile in a variety of ways, including adding new functionality to its apps and mobile site and diving into mobile advertising.

“We are just starting to refocus and make sure that our advertising budget is able to be used for mobile as well,” Mr. Monson said.

“We want to make sure our search results are optimized for mobile,” he said. “We are looking at the different opportunities to really expand in mobile.”

On Dec. 8, The Sportsman’s Guide introduced a revamped Android app that features a bar code reader. An updated iPhone app is coming soon.

Other features the company is planning to add in upcoming releases scheduled for the beginning of 2012 include location-based services, augmented reality and enhanced payment options.  

The brand is part of Redcats USA, which owns a variety of online and catalog brands.

“For us, mobile is an opportunity to reach customers where they are at,” Mr. Monson said. “It allows us to be playing in a market, using technology to reach customers we might not currently be able to access.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York 

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