Ace Hardware Store Has No E-Commerce But Still Does Mobile

An Ace Hardware store in the San Francisco suburbs experimented with mobile coupons this summer and increased its average customer cart size by more than 400 percent, Internet Retailer reported. Now more than 30 other Ace stores are lined up to try the system.

Pete's Ace Hardware in Castro Valley, Calif., ran its test with four mobile coupons that were sent to customers who responded to text messages, using tools from vendor FunMobility. Pete's then sent links to mobile coupons, and customers who redeemed them—49 percent of those who got the coupons—bought on average $72 worth of merchandise. The two-week campaign also resulted in more than 190 new customers signing up for the retailer's mobile coupon club.

That translated into a 411 percent increase in how much those mobile-coupon customers bought in the store. It also got the attention of Ace's corporate headquarters, which asked Pete's owner Linda Roark to help set up similar pilot tests for 11 other Ace stores. Those pilot programs are running now through December, and another 20 stores have signed up to start running mobile coupon campaigns in January.

For a chain the size of Ace Hardware, with 4,100 stores, that may not sound like an impressive mobile rollout. But the stores aren't operated by Ace—they're largely individually owned and operated stores. Pete's, for example, has a website but doesn't do e-commerce on it.

That makes the mobile-coupon test—which started with a single store—much more impressive. Also impressive: the fact that individual stores that have never made the jump to selling over the Internet can still make a cross-channel play to drive customers into the store using mobile.

For more:

- See this Internet Retailer story

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