Mobile ecommerce has been a long time coming and it's rise been avidly charted by many.The mobile marketing association reported in 2010 1 in 5 mobile users had used 1 M-commerce app and Coda Research Consultancy reported M-commerce was worth 2.42 billion dollars in 2010.
But what exactly constitutes M-Commerce? How do users use it and what do they expect?
Is M-commerce an opportunity for you?
By 2015, Coda Research Consultancy predicts that sales through M-commerce will account for 8.5% of all e-commerce revenue and be worth 23.8 billion.
When the Gilt Groupe launched an app for the iPad within 3 days, the app was responsible for generating 3% of the total sales for their 36 hour only luxury fashion sales.
The success of the Gilt Groupe, and m-commerce apps like it, think Tommy Hilfiger, QVC and Dell, show that consumers are starting to want to search for products from their smart phones.
The opportunity is most certainly there and as we've seen time and time again, it is the early adopters of new marketing channels which get to reap the benefits.
So what does the user expect from a M-commerce site or app?
First and foremost that your site renders correctly on their choice of mobile. The use of flash or incompatible CSS will cause your site to break and leave your user frustrated.
That your proposition is clear, succinct and to the point. The screen estate on a mobile device is small so make sure your messages are clear without making the user move around on your landing page.
When using their mobile the user will want to find what they are looking for very quickly so make your navigation easy to use and offer only what your mobile browsers will need.
But apart from browsing a site on mobile what other opportunities can M-Commerce apps offer?
There is a growing trend for retailers to tap in on geographic targeting. Apps such as Voucher Cloud, Groupon, and the latest Facebook deals sees a user's location determine special offers in their local vicinity. Moving this out to a retailer's own apps, retailers should be taking advantage of using geographic location to show nearest stockists or stores for their products or services. Geographic targeting is a trend which retailers cannot afford to be missing out on.
Another application where M-commerce will come out shining is barcode scanning. More apps are beginning to implement this technology within their M-commerce apps for ease of use for their existing customers and also for price comparison apps. The opportunities are there to be taken, imagine a user being in a store, scanning a product barcode where they are told all about the product and then can find out if it's cheaper anywhere else in their local area on the high street and also for purchase online. Well that day is here right now.
In the very old days, the internet used to be information channel, with the purchasing still performed on the high street. The internet has changed this and so has the consumer's lifestyle changed.
The question has to be asked, will the high street become a showcase of products available, where you can research, touch and feel, but purchase online, with your mobile becoming the integral link between the two?
The Coming of age
The explosion of M-commerce is still yet to be seen. We've seen big fast growth spurts for both email and social, yet we've been talking about mobile for years. That however is soon to change. The popularity of the iPhone has created an app market which is growing exponentially. M-commerce will be next and now is the time to innovate, develop and stake your claim on the M-commerce landscape.