Internet Retailer - M-commerce site is the jewel in the crown at Yates & Co.

Oct 27, 2010: Internet Retailer - M-commerce site is the jewel in the crown at Yates & Co.
The online jeweler launched the site in August and has seen significant action in mobile.

Ron Yates speaks at the Mobile Commerce Forum 2011.Ron Yates speaks at the Mobile Commerce Forum 2011.
Creating a small site can make a big difference for a web store. Case in point: Yates & Co Jewelers. It launched a mobile commerce site in August, and here’s what happened, comparing activity one month before launch of shoppers accessing its e-commerce site on their mobile devices to one month after launch of shoppers accessing Yates’ m-commerce site on their mobile devices:
  • The bounce rate—the percentage of visitors arriving on a page and then leaving the site—dropped 59%.
  • The number of pages per visit increased 90%.
  • Time on site increased 77%.
  • The conversion rate increased 70%.
  • The number of transactions increased 43%.
  • Sales jumped 138%.
“The full site is kind of heavy, pages are optimized for a large monitor, and on a mobile device it takes way too long to load pages, so shoppers would just drop out. The new mobile commerce site is a lean, mean selling machine,” says Ron Yates, president and director of e-commerce. “It’s easy to navigate, page load times are fast, image load times are fast, and we still give them the same products and assurances, and some of the bells and whistles, in a way that is quick and easy to navigate.”

Yates & Co. is making all this happen by combining the technologies of two providers. It uses the Yahoo Merchant Solutions e-commerce platform (commonly referred to as Yahoo Store) for its site,, which, when entered in a mobile web browser, automatically redirects to the mobile site, built by e-commerce and m-commerce technology provider FastPivot, which specializes in serving retailers running on Yahoo Merchant Solutions.

Yahoo Merchant Solutions this year opened up more of its application program interfaces, or APIs, to developers. This enabled FastPivot to connect its mobile commerce functionality to Yahoo’s shopping cart to create a fully functional m-commerce site. When an order is placed on the m-commerce site, it is handled first in an encrypted FastPivot version of the Yahoo shopping cart, an intermediary needed to create a link via the Yahoo API to the actual Yahoo shopping cart. FastPivot transmits the order to the actual Yahoo shopping cart, which then handles it just as if it were placed on the e-commerce site.

When it comes to creating and maintaining a successful m-commerce site, Yates says the key is navigation.

“You want to find what you’re looking for without e-commerce trappings that in m-commerce are superfluous—things like additional graphics and marketing message fly-downs that would only hinder a customer on an m-commerce site,” he says. “When you get to the e-commerce site on the home page there are myriad directions you can go from and dig in, and we have a video section, and the left-hand navigation bar, but you can also navigate from graphic links on the home page as well. On the mobile site, you don’t have room for that. We transformed a lot of those elements to text links, designed in such a fashion that it is easy to find what you are looking for.”

And the design is paying off, as those key performance indicator figures show. In fact, Yates himself has been a bit surprised at the boost the m-commerce site is providing.

“If I’m going to buy a piece of jewelry and I’m looking at it on a small handheld device, I would not be able to see the rich media as well as I would on a large monitor. I wasn’t sure jewelry would translate to mobile commerce as well as some other products,” Yates says. “But after we optimized the site, the numbers show consumers are gravitating to mobile and it’s working.”