November 14, 2012
Mobile commerce set to blaze new trails
Mobile commerce is the one mobile channel on fire. As retailers are learning – to their chagrin or delight – mobile can be their best friend, worst enemy or, as many view it, as the frenemy.
But those reservations do not matter. What is indisputable is that mobile is the future of retail. It is shaping not only shopping done online, but also influencing store-based retail. Savvy retailers are ahead of their customers, offering shopper-friendly mobile Web sites, applications, SMS- and email-based loyalty programs, coupons, QR codes and targeted, geo-fenced mobile advertisements and integration into Apple and Google’s loyalty and commerce initiatives.
Mobile commerce is expected to account for 20 percent of online sales in 2012, according to IBM. But that is just the beginning. As consumers get more comfortable shopping on smartphones and tablets, overcoming issues such as unfamiliarity and security fears, they will take to mobile commerce at an even faster adoption rate than ecommerce. Sadly, not all retailers understand the speed of adoption that they can expect from consumers, nor the heightened expectation levels from their target audience.
What this Classic Guide to Mobile Commerce – produced annually by this publication – does is provide how-to advice, pointers and best-practice tips on how to get a retailer started in mobile commerce. It is also useful for retail executives who are already including mobile in the mix to evaluate how they stack up with best practice.
Mobile must not be viewed as merely yet another technology. Instead, it is to be respected for what it has done to consumers: liberated them from time and space constraints associated with searching, shopping and buying. It is not technology that is mobile, it is the consumer.
Indeed, given the state of the economy and the increasingly finicky nature of consumers, retailers have little time to offer an optimized shopping experience on mobile. Smartphones are already playing a critical role in driving traffic to retail stores, in addition to threatening the viability of bricks-and-mortar operations with the new showrooming phenomenon where consumers research in stores on their phones only to buy elsewhere for cheaper – Amazon.
Tablets, on the other hand, are now stealing share from laptop- and PC-based ecommerce, making shopping more enjoyable and appealing. Many retailers now claim that tablet commerce is on its way to becoming the dominant mobile revenue channel.
Please read this guide from page to page, and pass along the link to colleagues and clients. Included in this edition are insights from some of the smartest minds in mobile commerce. We thank them for their contribution, time and effort. Feel free to reach out to them for advice.
Also, many thanks to our advertisers OpenMarket, Appcelerator and Fiksu. Their work for clients has helped shape smart mobile commerce strategy and tactics. Finally, a big thank-you to associate editor Rimma Kats for her art direction, editing and reporting, as well as associate editor Chantal Tode and associate reporter Lauren Johnson for their reports. Ad sales director Jodie Solomon’s contribution is also much valued, as is content assistant Kristina Mayne’s help.
The Mobile Marketer/Mobile Commerce Daily team has worked hard to maintain the standards expected of them and the publications. We hope this Classic Guide will help retailers interested in mobile commerce set new standards as well.