Recently we did a market research on ecommerce and other online commerce platforms and solutions. We will provide the full report in some parts. Here is the final one.
A special note on mobile commerce
Morgan Stanley has predicted that, by 2015, more users will connect to the web via mobile devices than desktops and laptops. So you as a company can no longer afford to ignore mobile commerce as part of your multi-channel strategy.Shop.org and Forrester research have found that more than 70% of online retailers are either having or developing a mobile commerce strategy. And for good reason – the opportunities are immense. Smart phones, tablets and hand held devices are driving this explosive growth. (Demandware, ‘Critical Success Factors for Mobile Commerce’, 2011)
People are not just using smartphones for making purchase transactions. It is also influencing the purchase decisions in other channels as well. People do comparison shopping, search for prospective buyers, locate brick and mortar stores and read reviews from their smart phones. According to a recent research by Dell out of all the people who used mobile phones to help them shop only 25% transacted a purchase and the rest used if for other purposes. These trends are only going to accelerate with the increasing adoption rates of smart phones and as vendors optimize the online experience for their users. So an organization should not treat mobile commerce as a separate channel but it should be a part of its overall strategy.
Success in this field relies on a vendor’s ability to deliver a shopping experience that leverages the characteristics of different devices. Typically mobile phones are used by people to shop when they are on the run and don’t have a lot of time. That means a different set of requirements. At minimum, your mobile commerce strategy should address the following:
- Speed and Security – People expect the website to load as quickly as it does on their desktops. They also expect that payment through their smart phones is safe and is that their personal and personal information is not susceptible to theft.
- A website or an application – If you have a powerful brand or a loyal set of customers a native application might not be a bad idea but in other cases, a website might be a better alternative.
- Enriching the mobile experience – Native apps can leverage the functionality of mobile devices like the camera or the GPS and can provide options of offline purchases. Other features like inbuilt search, streamlined checkout process, presence in comparison shopping engines may further enrich the customer experience. A prime example would be combining the real store inventory information, geo-location services and personalized promotional offers to a consumer’s mobile device while he is in the proximity of the store.
HTML5 and 4G networks are already helping vendors to expand their offerings to its users. Capabilities such as barcode scanning, QR codes and NFC, GPS geo-location services, real time content sharing are already feasible from within a mobile website. And the pace with which more capabilities are being added is neck breaking. So retailers need to plan for the future by adapting to this rapid evolution and formulation an agile strategy to match the speed of this change.
Ecommerce is a very exciting space to watch for as of now. Some will succeed, some consolidate and most perish.