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NewsJan 14, 2013

National Geographic Gains a Mobile-Optimized Store, Improved Customer Experience, and Increased Online Sales

Credera Team

The Opportunity

National Geographic Society (NGS) is a well-known, non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. with multiple properties including: television, magazine, travel, photography, and an online store, just to name a few.  The National Geographic Store sells thousands of items such as books, DVDs, clothing, home products, maps, travel gear, photography, children gifts, etc.  NGS engaged Credera to create a mobile-optimized online store to improve usability, enhance customers’ experience, and increase online sales through mobile devices (e.g., iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, etc.)

Prior to working with Credera, web images on the NGS Store appeared too small, product download times were too long, and Marketing was not able to distinguish between desktop and mobile consumers.  Mobile and tablet sites needed to complement NGS’ current technology (ATG Web Commerce), and provide Marketing the ability to offer promotions to mobile and desktop consumers separately.  In addition, NGS desired to provide consumers with the ability to share products and interests via mobile devices.

The Approach

Credera began the initiative by analyzing the NGS Store for user experience improvements and requirements.  Credera’s User Experience team conducted a design session with the NGS team to assess site colors and images, as well as, the look and feel of the proposed mobile site.

NGS utilized ATG Web Commerce for its product catalogue, including web images and product descriptions.  It was important to access the same product catalogue across all mobile devices versus the option to create a separate catalogue for mobile devices.  Credera conducted a software selection to determine the best technology needed to build the mobile and tablet sites.  Credera selected open web standards, HTML 5, CSS3, Javascript, and leveraged NGS’ ATG Web Commerce.

Credera’s User Experience and Java development teams worked seamlessly to create a proof of concept to accommodate desired user experiences.  For example, a consumer may watch a National Geographic Channel show such as, “Doomsday Preppers,” and choose to write a review on a tablet device.  Another consumer receives National Geographic Magazine and may want to purchase products showcased in the magazine via a mobile or tablet device.  The Credera team customized pages to compliment the television watching experience, as well as, the experience of flipping through a magazine.  Alternate workarounds were developed for hovering over a word on a desktop computer.  Credera used the progressive enhancement technique that targeted the desktop store site as the basis for the tablet site with strategic tablet customizations.

Consumer reporting analytics and personalized promotion were also a priority.  Adobe SiteCatalyst, an analytics and reporting tool, was customized to include mobile site visits and revenues by device channels.  NGS utilized ATG’s content targeters to offer different promotions on the NGS Store site based on what a consumer chooses to click.  Credera modified the promotions framework to allow NGS the opportunity to tailor promotions for different mobile devices and by location.

Screen shots of the NGS Store from a mobile device:

The Result

The mobile initiative launched in Q4 2011. Tablet enhancements are expected to launch Q1 2013.  As a result of the mobile initiative, NGS has experienced many improvements:

  • Increased Online Sales – NGS reported their biggest mobile sales day ever on Cyber Monday 2012 with a 232% increase from the prior year

  • Increased Online Views – NGS experienced a 65% increase for mobile page views when compared to the prior year

  • Reduced Expenditures – All development work was completed on NGS’ existing hardware and software, and with open web standard technologies.  As a result, NGS did not incur additional hardware and software costs or on-going license fees.

  • Streamlined Content – Currently, NGS hosts ancillary products for sale on third-party microsites.  Going forward, product offerings can be centralized on ATG Web Commerce allowing for reduced operational costs and ensuring content accessibility on any device.

  • Improved Customer Communications – NGS can segment their customers by device type, allowing for enhanced customer experience and personalized promotions when needed

  • Awarded Perfect Score – Google’s Go Mo site, a tool that judges company sites for mobile-friendliness, gave the NGS Store a perfect score

Want to learn more about Credera’s relationship with National Geographic Society? We recommend reading National Geographic Strategic Partnership, written by Rebecca Cochener.