Saddleback Leather's New Mobile Site Sees Dramatic Revenue Boost

The online retailer streamlines its data flow and draws customers with mobile responsive site.

Saddleback Leather, an 11-year-old online leather goods store, has thrived on selling handmade purses and briefcases solely from its website, but as mobile commerce gained traction, the company knew it needed to keep up with changing customer expectations.

"We were seeing a lot of people drop off our site from mobile [devices]," says David Meidam, information systems manager at Saddleback Leather. "And we were getting complaints that customers were trying to add a product to a cart on their phone, but the experience was so frustrating they'd give up."

In addition, the San Antonio, Texas-based company's custom-built web store was difficult to scale and it was not integrated with the back office inventory, financials, or customer records. The disconnected systems and lack of cross-departmental visibility into business metrics was hurting efficiency and preventing the company from improving the customer experience.

Since 2011, Saddleback Leather had been using cloud-based business software maker Netsuite's core platform for managing its inventory, financials, and CRM data and it turned to the vendor again for help. In July this year, the company deployed NetSuite's SuiteCommerce solution, which included an upgraded website and mobile site.

Customers quickly responded to the new mobile site, notes Saddleback Leather Operations Manager Trent Funk. Within the first week of making its site mobile responsive, the company's mobile-based revenue shot up from less than 5 percent to 50 percent; mobile bounce rates dropped from 80 percent to 20 percent, and customers spent more time looking at items on a page (two minutes, up from about one minute). "The response was dramatic," Funk says, "When we went from having a poor mobile experience to now being able to better display and sell bags [from a tablet or smartphone]."

In addition, connecting data from the website and mobile site with other sources of customer information has helped Saddleback Leather streamline its operations. Information from a phone call, email, or online chat for example, is aggregated into one database that the company uses for customer segmentation and insights into when customers prefer to receive a newsletter or the best time to release a marketing campaign.

The new data management system has also helped the company prepare its marketing for the upcoming holiday shopping season, adds John Bergquist, who heads Saddleback Leather's content and communications. "For busy seasons like Christmas, you don't want to make many changes to the merchandise or content," Bergquist says. "So we're able to take the content, test it, and have it ready to engage customers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest and sell bags in a much easier way."

The company is also considering building a brick-and-mortar store in Texas. The store would serve as a place for people to see and purchase merchandise in addition to being an events space and give the company another avenue to connect with customers, according to Bergquist.

The online retailer is still developing a strategy for how it would connect its online and offline data and a key component will be the ability "to work seamlessly between departments," Bergquist says. "Our employees are all over the country," he notes, "And we try to use as many tools as possible to connect different departments and better serve our customers."