University of Oregon Duck Store Soars Above Competition with Mobile Commerce

A strong mobile strategy often means the difference between struggling against the competition and outpacing them. Join Volusion as we explore one merchant’s mobile success story in today’s case study.

Mobile eCommerce

As an independent, non-profit bookstore, The Duck Store has proudly served the students, faculty, alumni and fans of the University of Oregon since 1920. The Duck Store’s purpose is to support the academic mission of the University of Oregon while providing the best retail experience possible, both online and off.

As the business approaches its 100th anniversary, it has wasted no time clinging to traditional technologies. The Duck Store was an early adopter of ecommerce, opening their online store in the late 1990s. Since then, the non-profit organization has continued to extend its presence into the digital space, using its website and online store to achieve its goals by focusing on speed, accuracy and customer service.

The Duck Store sells a wide range of products to Duck fans across the globe, including apparel, graduation gear, accessories and much more. But as the University of Oregon and their football team grew in popularity and consumer behavior shifted from desktop to mobile, The Duck Store faced an interesting challenge: transcending the lines between ecommerce and mobile, all while continuing to deliver on their important mission to an expanding audience.

The Duck Store

  • Founded: 1920
  • Retail Locations: Eugene, Portland, and Bend, Oregon
  • Mission: “To support the academic mission of the University of Oregon as well as provide students, faculty and staff the benefit of their non-profit structure and make attending and working at the university convenient.”
  • Peak Selling Seasons: August-December (football/holiday) and April/May (graduation)
  • Most Popular Item: Exclusive University of Oregon Nike products

The Need for More

In 2009, the Oregon Ducks football team took the national spotlight, earning a Top 10 ranking and a trip to the 2010 Rose Bowl. As the Ducks continued their flight to the top, The Duck Store and its ecommerce site experienced similar success, driving high levels of traffic and online sales.

But with great success came additional challenges, as noted by Alex Lyons, Web Team Leader of The Duck Store, “Prior to Volusion, we had an in-house solution that was ColdFusion-based. As we began to ramp up our ecommerce efforts in 2009, we decided as an organization that we needed to be better up to speed, including achieving PCI compliance.”

Beyond increasing their security protections, Alex and her team realized they needed to offload ecommerce sales from their internal IT department – instead, they wanted a third party software platform that could seamlessly handle the process. With these decision criteria in mind, Alex and her team began exploring various ecommerce platforms and ultimately selected Volusion due to the security and scalability it provides, its low cost and the additional workflow control The Duck Store regained.

Enter the 2010 football season, and the Ducks found themselves vying for the BCS National Championship. Students, alumni and fans around the world were ordering University of Oregon merchandise, turning 2010 into a record-breaking year for The Duck Store’s online shop. The switch to Volusion allowed Alex’s team to safely handle the increased traffic and order volume, but they also began to see an uptick in traffic and purchases from mobile devices.

Based on that information, The Duck Store knew that to take their ecommerce site to the next level, they needed to broaden its mobile commerce capabilities.

Meeting the Mobile Demand

In 2011, the Ducks experienced another banner football season, meaning Alex and her team experienced another year of heavy traffic, including mobile. Fortunately, as part of its ongoing platform updates, Volusion released a round of significant mobile commerce tools, providing The Duck Store with an optimized mobile site that greatly streamlined the user experience for shoppers.

With these new capabilities in their arsenal, The Duck Store began to see increased mobile conversions, helping to supplement purchases made via desktop. In 2013, Volusion released a sophisticated mobile checkout tool that allows shoppers to fully complete a transaction via their mobile device.

“After mobile checkout was implemented, we have definitely seen a spike in people who were able to find and complete purchases through the mobile interface – this is important to us because we have a young customer base with our student audience,” Alex explained.

In fact, in the six week period after The Duck Store enabled Volusion’s mobile checkout tool, their daily sales from mobile devices grew 184%. Even more, mobile average order value increased 21% and average mobile cart conversion grew 9%.

With the mobile capabilities provided by Volusion, The Duck Store saw an opportunity to better blend email marketing with mobile commerce. Now that the team could link to individual product pages on their mobile site, Alex and her team began including links to specific product pages within their email messages. This allows The Duck Store to target customers they know are on mobile devices and send them to a targeted product page, as opposed to forcing shoppers to browse through a clumsy website on their smartphone. This marketing tactic, paired with Volusion’s mobile checkout tool, has greatly boosted The Duck Store’s mobile sales and performance.

Fast Facts

In the six week period after enabling mobile checkout, The Duck Store experienced:

  • A 184% increase in daily mobile sales
  • A 21% gain in average order value from mobile
  • A 9% jump in mobile cart conversion
  • An 86% growth in percentage of site visits from mobile devices
  • A 204% boost in average percentage of sales from mobile

Up next for The Duck Store is the incorporation of textbook sales into their mobile site, as well as continuing to enhance their key pillars of speed, accuracy and customer service.

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