2010: The Year for Mobile Commerce

Happy new year! By now – if you’re like me – you are fully out of holiday mode and charged up to tackle a lot of big things in 2010.

My guess is that if you’re a retailer one of those things is figuring out your mobile commerce strategy (and making it happen). After all mobile commerce grew at an average of 388% (!) for retailers in 2009.  You know already that your customers got a lot of iPhones, Androids, Blackberries and other assorted goodies under the tree and you want to make sure your site is ready for them.

But what to do? Do you just need to make a mobile version of your site? Are people really going to shop on their phones or is the point to use mobile to drive them to an existing channel? What about apps? Which platforms? what should they do?

These are all good questions and we don’t pretend there is any one-size-fits-all answer (even the Snuggie comes in different sizes now!). There are a few principles we think are winners for mobile commerce, however, which can help you come to the right solution:

  • Think “mobile,” not “miniature”: People don’t use mobile sites the same way they use a full site. They are more likely looking for a specific piece of information or an opportunity to see if there is something new. Remember that mobile sessions are shorter than traditional online sessions and design accordingly.
  • Think of the funnel: Mobile experiences are more likely to succeed , whether or not they include the ability to purchase directly from the mobile device, if they are oriented towards driving customers through a buying process that often concludes in a traditional channel. Of course that means that tracking these cross-channel interactions is critically important so you can get the credit you deserve.
  • Think about timing: There are a lot of great strategies out there for increasing customer engagement with your brand, special private sales, deals of the day, etc. These types of promotions lend themselves very well to mobile experiences.
  • Think about a Swiss army knife: You need the right tools for a job; sometimes a knife, sometimes a screwdriver. Mobile commerce is the same. There are some tasks where a mobile website is the best thing for the consumer to use and others where a mobile website simply isn’t going to work. The same thing goes for mobile apps. A fully realized mobile strategy is going to include both a mobile website component and native apps.

How do these principles match with your thinking about mobile commerce in 2010? Let me know at justin.finnegan@acquitygroup.com.

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