Smart Consumers, Smart Phones
2 Min Read
mCommerce–Mobile Commerce–seems to be the hot topic in Multichannel Commerce circles these days. Research firm ABI predicts that mobile commerce will become an eye-popping $119B market by 2015. But if you look closer at the trends today, you will find some surprising results that should guide your mCommerce strategy, at least in the short term.
Magento, the world’s fastest growing ecommerce platform is no laggard to the mobile side of multichannel and cross-channel commerce. With the recent launch of the 1.10 version of Magento Enterprise Edition, merchants and retailers now have the option of creating apps and applications specifically for mobile devices and smart phones and/or creating mobile friendly versions of their Magento ecommerce sites themselves.
That’s a great start.
At present, most retailers embracing mobile commerce are thinking along these lines: apps and mobile friendly commerce sites. Nevertheless, while these steps are necessary, they are not sufficient to capitalize on what promises to be a highly lucrative market.
ecommerce platform provider Demandware recently published a fascinating survey on mobile commerce behavior. The statistic that struck me as most interesting and perhaps somewhat counter intuitive is that Eighty-Three percent (83%) of so-called “smart consumers” identified their web-enabled Smartphone to be the most valuable and useful in-store shopping tool. A vast majority of wired consumers now trust web data more than a sales associate–unless that sales associate is himself aided by a web-connected device!
Users of smart phones are already using their mobile digital devices to make online purchases, a trend that will continue to accelerate. Nevertheless, much of this purchasing behavior today (unless you look at Japan, a country that already has a $10B mCommerce market) is for music, online books, apps, and so forth. Digital goods in other words.
From the statistic cited above about accessing web data via mobile devices while physically in a store looking to purchase physical goods, it is clear that a clear and present imperative for retailers pursuing a mobile strategy is to make it easy for potential buyers to quickly and easily find product information online that helps them make a purchase decision. Specs, competitive comparisons, easy access to authoritative reviews and customer opinions–all can help tip the scale in your favor and away from a competitor’s. But only if that shopper can find the right information.
In other words, a mobile device in the hands of an instore shopper should provide the very same ease of access to information that your main ecommerce site does. If your ecommerce site doesn’t do this already, before you even consider a mobile strategy, fix your site. Once your site is humming and optimized, it is time to take that next step and make sure customers looking at your product in a store walk it over to the cash register. And if the sales rep there has a mobile device with access to the same information, so much the better!