Plenty of startups know that mobile needs to be their next frontier, but One Kings Lane CEO Doug Mack is particularly bullish about his company’s opportunity on the emerging platform. That’s because mobile revenue, which has been growing at a rapid pace, now accounts for a quarter of the company’s total revenue — and the company is just beginning to deploy its latest weapon for attacking mobile: newly-appointed CTO Jean Sini, who recently ran engineering for Mint.com.
While at Mint, Sini watched as 40 percent of the service’s user base went mobile-only. Using his data aggregation and engineering chops, Sini was responsible for serving up an experience that maximized every user experience. Mack said that in hiring Sini, the company is “all in” on mobile and he hopes Sini can translate that experience for One Kings Lane.
“We believe in the opportunity that we can own mobile commerce and be one of the stars of the mobile web,” said Mack, adding that “Jean has a stronger vision for mobile than anyone I’ve met.”
Going forward, Mack and Sini said they’ll put a premium on relevant, personalized content, as well as on an uncluttered, fast-as-possible experience. Other feature possibilities might include using the smartphone camera in creative ways to help users search. They also said mobile could also help inform the web experience as it can teach companies to be minimalist and disciplined without sacrificing function.
One Kings Lane, which was launched by fashion executive Susan Feldman and Alison Pincus (wife of Zynga founder and CEO Mark Pincus) as a home decor flash sale site in 2009, is on track to double revenue to $200 million this year. In July, the company said 25 percent of its revenue came from mobile, up from 22 percent in June.
Average order values for mobile were also higher in July, with the average iPad order beating desktop by 10 percent and iPhone order topping desktop by 6 percent.
Mobile commerce is still a fraction of the total e-commerce market in the U.S. – 8 percent according to Kleiner Perkins’ Mary Meeker. But it’s growing at a very fast clip. This year, eMarketer estimates that mobile commerce sales will rise 73.1 percent to $11.6 billion.
Other new e-commerce sites, such as Etsy and Fab have also reported strong growth on mobile. In May, six months after launching its iPhone app, Etsy said 20 percent of its users were coming in through mobile and, around the same time, Fab said 22 to 25 percent of weekly sales were from mobile customers.
In looking at mobile, Sini said it’s all about taking advantage of “interstitial time.”
“We live in the Twitter era,” he said, explaining that people take little bursts of free time here and there to check news, send messages and make purchases.
“We need to grab five minutes and make the most of it,” he added.
Aside from focusing on mobile, Mack said one of the company’s macro goals is surpassing Pottery Barn as the most visited premium home site, which it expects to do at some point next year.
In addition to adding Sini to the company’s management team, One King’s Lane recently hired VP of brand development Sascha Jamall, previously with Michaels (the arts and crafts stores) and Pottery Barn; VP of legal and general counsel Susan Stick, previously with Skype; and chief people officer John K. Anderson, previously with Quidsi.