The rise of m-commerce

Mobile is set to become a significant channel for commerce as retailers rush to enable mobile capabilities and track spend.

M-commerce could prove to be a godsend for modern retailers. Not only does it offer an additional platform on which consumers can buy goods and services, but it also provides unrivalled levels of customer insight and personal engagement.

A recent study by MEF mobile found that an overwhelming amount of mobile users engage in content for mobile and commerce, with 80 per cent using their phone for research and over half (55 per cent) making purchases from their mobile.

The study, based on ten countries across the world, revealed that developing countries such as Qatar, India and South Africa are seeing the most exciting levels of mobile commerce. Mature markets such as the UK and US also had remarkably high levels of mobile engagement proving that consumers across the world are ready for mobile, it just requires retailers to be ready too.

Advocates of m-commerce

We at Experian expect beyond 2012 to see mobile come to the fore as a significant channel for commerce. Mobile devices are clearly becoming a shopping utility and, increasingly, a transactional tool.

EBay recently posted revenue increases of 23 per cent which prompted CEO John Donahoe to hail a new age of mobile spend. He projected that the popular ecommerce site would see a record of $10 billion in mobile transactions this year, urging other firms to prepare for a mobile commerce tsunami.

Speaking at the HTIA conference in Jerusalem, Israel, Mr Donahoe said: “Mobile devices are blurring the line between being online and offline. Now users can compare prices in-store, at home or on the move, so things are going to change, just as the media world is being changed by the rise of smartphones and tablets.”

From ‘e’ to ‘m’

Most developed retailers are at the point where their mobile site is a replica of their website, but that is set to change. Mobile is no longer marginalised as an offshoot of the corporate website and we are likely to see businesses investing in mobile-only websites to keep up with the growth in mobile usage.

M-commerce certainly deserves to be utilised as a separate entity, after all it supports entirely different retail habits on a unique platform. Above the convenience, accessibility and connectivity factors, retailers should be looking to hone in on one particularly strategic advantage – personalisation.

Leigh Amaro, senior business leader of Information Products at Visa, recently commented on the company’s new m-commerce program developed with luxury retailer Neiman Marcus. “Personalisation and mobile technology are driving growth in today’s retail environment,” she said, highlighting the importance of efficient data management and bespoke retail experience.

A consumer’s location, preferences, social connection and consumption channel are the primary drivers of their web experience.

One of the main steps in designing web content for multiple devices is to make use of analytics to understand how consumers are using the existing, non-optimised website on mobile devices. These statistics will enable marketers to determine the kind of information that would be of interest and value to consumers on the go.