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Mobile Commerce – The Future is Now!

Posted on October 29th, 2010

For a while now, we’ve all been hearing that ‘mobile is the next big thing.’ But as we’re bombarded with emails, articles, and banners touting this ‘new’ wave, how do we filter through all the noise?

Attendees at WBR’s Mobile Shopping Summit were treated to interesting and knowledgeable speakers, substantive and timely content, and “words of wisdom” from those who are getting mobile commerce right. Here are some of our key takeaways from the summit:

  • App or Mobile Optimized Site? The burning question – how do you know what to do first? For branded retailers the answer is clear, according to Tom Davis, VP of eCommerce at Kenneth Cole – he recommends going with a mobile optimized site first; why would a retailer want to limit their mobile audience right off the bat by building an app that only works on one platform?
  • Expect mobile commerce to grow (a lot) Jeff Pandolfo, Business Development Manager at Amazon Payments projects that mobile commerce sales will increase almost ten-fold in the next five years – from $2.4 billion in 2010 up to $23.4 billion by 2015
  • Data, data, data! One of the most common themes throughout the summit was the importance of data; collecting, analyzing, and acting upon it. Your data will tell you what devices your customers are using and what they are trying to do on your site, which in turn will direct your mobile next-steps (and budget).
  • Mobile phones are everywhere! Brandom McGee from Dell provided some interesting stats – 85% of people have mobile phones at home, but only 73% of kids have a book at home.
  • Remember the rest of the World – In North America we tend to focus on Apple, Droid, and Blackberry. Don’t forget that half of the global mobile population uses a Symbian mobile device. This is particularly critical for retailers who ship internationally.
  • Apps can still win big – Pizza Hut has had over 2 million downloads of their app on the iPhone alone. Adding fun and ease to the pizza ordering process gives them a step up in the app space.
  • Get your foot in the door – You don’t have to solve for every platform or scenario, but many retailers agreed that it’s best to get something live in the mobile space as soon as possible. Getting a basic mobile site live can be done relatively cheaply and at the very least can serve as a good way to collect data. Most retailers who started with iPhone apps or mobile sites are now launching into droid apps.
  • Page load time on mobile is important – Just like with the standard web, the longer a page takes to load, the more likely a user will leave. This problem can be magnified in the mobile space as users are more ‘on the go’ and may not have as much time to wait.
  • Get on the HTML5 bandwagon – In what will soon become the new web standard, HTML5 is already making its presence felt. Providing features like innately embedded videos (without the need for plugins) and more streamlined code, HTML5 will have a drastic impact on web site & app flexibility, particularly in the mobile space.

For more expert advice on mobile strategy, check out the FitForCommerce Mobile Commerce Benchmark 2010 Precursor: 15 Sound Bites

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