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October 29, 2014

I've written about this topic a few times, mobile commerce is a huge part of everyday life for people today. For me, it is a HUGE part of my life . . . I check my email, get coupons for groceries, interact on social networks, shop on Amazon (yes, I said it!), do my banking and pay credit cards, and a multitude of other things all on my phone. So as the percentage of people who own smartphones is at an all-time high, and use them for much more than making phone calls and texting, it made sense for us as a business to create a mobile optimized experience. Part of our mission statement at Fairytale Brownies has always been, "We simplify gift-giving", so naturally we had to make gift-giving easy for our customers who are plugged in. With a clear understanding of our strategy, I was tasked with creating a mobile optimized experience for our tablet customers as well as our mobile customers. 

This was a massive project that I've literally been working on since early last year. We've gone through many iterations of how to approach this project. Do we create it in-house, do we hire a dedicated developer, do we find a SaaS? Time and resources were obviously a barrier, but once we got the detail and kinks worked out, the project took off. The fruits of my (and Colleen - graphic designer, and Hunter - IT team leader) labor have paid off, we now have two more ways that our customers can engage with Fairytale Brownies, and/or order brownie gifts. First, we've partnered with a mobile commerce provider, mShopper, to create a mobile store that is beautifully branded, is very user friendly and provides a seamless ordering experience. From the homepage of the mobile store, customers can shop by occasion, gift type, contact us or simply find more information about brownie flavors and sizes. No special URL is needed, customers simply type into their mobile browser and our mobile store is automatically re-directed. It made sense to us to use a SaaS instead of going through the painful time and expense to create a mobile store and integrate it with out CMS from the ground up. 

Second, we also understand the importance of optimizing our desktop site for tablet use as well. We dug deep into our analytics and discovered that in addition to our customers visiting us on their computers, they're also visiting us on their tablets. So we performed several usability tests on how our site performs on tablets and made a list of improvements to optimize the tablet experience. Some improvements we made are, using CSS to generate buttons and other graphic elements instead of images, optimized form keyboards (there's nothing more frustrating on a mobile device than having to find the right keyboard for number and text fields), increased spacing and the buffer zone between text links to account for fat-fingers (mine!) and some other minor improvements.  

At the end of the day, we're hoping that our customers will remember that no matter where they are or what they are doing, Fairytale Brownies is here to make their gift-giving needs as easy as possible. Visit our mobile store on your phone, or our desktop optimized site on your tablet to see the awesome strides we've made. If you have comments or feedback for me on ways we can make your engagement with Fairytale Brownies better, please don't hesitate to get in touch! Comment below or email me at hilary at brownies dot com.



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