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Best practice guide for m-commerce takes retailers beyond having just an ‘app for that’

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Digital marketing consultancy Econsultancy has published a mobile commerce best practice guide to meet the demand from retailers looking to make sense of how to sell through the growing number of smartphones out there – and to help everyone get over the idea that m-commerce is just about having an app.

According to the guide’s author, Chris Lake, editor at Econsultancy, m-commerce is becoming business critical for many retailers. “In the US some 37% of smartphone users have made a non-mobile purchase via their handset in the past six months, so it’s clear that people are using their phones to buy physical goods,” he says. “This will only increase as handsets improve, mobile internet speeds increase and consumers trust the mobile channel for shopping.”

The Mobile Ecommerce guide – the first of 10 best practice guides being published this year by E-consultancy – is designed to help steer retailers towards understanding and implementing e-commerce functionality in this rapidly evolving channel.

“And it’s not just about apps,” says Lake. “Mobile-optimised websites are a great starting place for any retailer that is keen to generated revenue from this channel.”

According to Lake, mobile offers greater reach, so you can potentially increase your market share. “It reminds me of the early days of e-commerce, and I think there will be a similar land grab in the next 18 months as retailers rush to release mobile websites that do the business. Our guide will help them to quickly understand what works and what doesn’t,” he says.

The guide comes along just as the retail industry starts to take note of the real power of mobile. The fundamentals of mobile marketing and m-commerce haven’t changed in years: mobile is always-on, always-near, secure and very personal. But so far it has largely been confined to a push mechanism, which has the capacity to go wrong. Nobody wants to receive a text message at 5am. Nobody wants to struggle to opt out. People don’t want to receive impersonal messages.

“Now, with the rise in mobile internet usage, consumers can use this channel on their own terms,” explains Lake. “And if your website doesn’t work so well on a small screen then they can easily visit a competitor’s site. All of the same customer experience rules found on the internet apply for mobile too. Forms need to be easy. Navigation needs to be functional. Text needs to be readable. Websites need to be usable. The good news is that it isn’t rocket science.”

And there are already some success stories that the report draws on: such as the pureplays of eBay and Amazon, both of which are already ahead of the curve. Ebay alone has generated $380m in sales from its mobile channel, the report shows.

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