American clothes retailer Chico’s has just launched it’s entire operation onto the mobile web. With three different brands, and over 1,000 locations, the chain has made a significant investment in mobile commerce with mobilization experts Usablenet. We got the run down on the deal from Jason Taylor, VP of Global Product Strategy at Usablenet.
But first, who’s involved here?
Chico’s covers three different clothes store brands. The main one is Chico’s itself, but it also runs White House Black Market and Soma as separate retail entities. Altogether, it runs 1,084 stores across 48 states in America.
Then you’ve got Usablenet, who work on making sure that on-line websites work on mobile. Even for pretty high tech phones, accessing “full” websites can be a real pain if they’re not optimised. Usablenet works with companies to make sure that every single aspect of their on-line property will work smoothly on any mobile handset.
What’s the deal?
The existing retail websites for Chico’s have been retooled by Usablenet for the mobile web. Importantly, this doesn’t just mean they “crunch” them for viewing on smartphones. The sites are now fully optimised for viewing on feature phones with mobile browsers as well. This means that customers will be able to use any function that they’re used to on the full web version: searching through clothes, searching for store locations, and even purchasing products for delivery or collection.
We got more details from Jason:
What made Chico’s decide Usablenet was the best option?
Usablenet has 5 key characteristics, when considered together make our solution unique:
• Support for all mobile phones
• Zero impact to client IT resources
• 8-10 week implementation
• Ability to mobile-enable all functionality
• Unmatched experience/expertise in mobile-enabling corporations
Is the “search nearby store” function powered by location detection (GPS, cell triangulation, etc.) or does the user input their location?
Although Chico’s did not enable this upgrade, Usablenet does offer this functionality to clients.
Usablenet provides a lot of complex interactions based on web standards – where do you stand on HTML5 vs. Flash?
We view HTML 5 as the broad standard; we already implement an HTML 5 layer option for clients.
Usablenet also offers application development - do you believe the future for retailers lies in individual apps or a broader-scope browser approach?
We believe that optimizing your mobile website is the first necessary step to strengthening your multichannel strategy. Apps are tools to access device-specific features, such as using the camera to scan a barcode or using the GPS to find a location.
Usablenet provides payment options to a large number of industries. In your experience, which industry has been the fastest and most daring when it comes to mobile services?
Our platform allows all industries to leverage their Web payment systems. In our experience, retail has proven to be the quickest and most innovative in mobilizing and integrating compelling features.