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Industry body seeks to offer “central repository of m-commerce information to bring clarity to the market”

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As reported last week, Tescos’s Nick Lansley and eBay’s Patrick Munden have officially joined The Association of Interactive Media and Entertainment (AIME), The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) in formerly launching the Mobile Commerce Joint Industry Committee (MCJIC), a body designed, in its words, to provide a “central repository of m-commerce information to bring clarity to the market”.

The body aims to bring together retailers, technology providers and regulators to help shape how m-commerce – that’s the full monty of selling over mobile, including not only retailers, but also digital goods and even media content – is perceived by the consumer and to help all those involved in m-commerce find clear information on what mobile means to their business.

Created on the back of some joint research by IMRG, IAB and AIME earlier this summer, MCJIC has been specifically set up to assist retailers, technology providers, consumers and regulators through education, research and the promotion of best practice to help drive the growth of m-commerce. It will cover all aspects of m-commerce, from mobile marketing and payments to site optimisation and services such as app creation, coupons and age verification.

This move follows a recent research collaboration between the three associations which found that more than half (59%) of UK retail brands expect their mobile revenues to increase over the next 12 months, with 94% regarding it as a real opportunity for their business.

The research highlights the need for retailers to move faster to keep pace with consumers. According to the IAB Consumer M-Commerce Study October 2010, 43% of people have transacted on their mobile phones, with 42% saying that they use their mobile as it is the easiest way to research and buy products.

Commenting on the creation of the Initiative, Andrew McClelland, director of operations at IMRG said: “The number of big name retailers launching transactional sites and apps in 2010 proves mobile is a rapidly growing sales channel, yet many retailers aren’t confident they have enough knowledge in this area.

“We’ve set up the MCJIC initiative specifically to address this issue, and to give retailers guidance to find the right m-commerce strategy for them and grow the market in general. The team, made up of retailers, mobile specialists and industry bodies, will draw on their expertise from their place within the m-commerce value chain, and develop key projects including educational programs, research, best practice guidelines and standards for the benefit of all.”

McClelland said that, many consumers are now experiencing m-commerce in various ways – they may be buying newspaper content on mobile or doing their shopping – and we want to make sure that there is a coherent and satisfying experience for these consumers across all vertical markets. “If they have a bad experience in one vertical it will effect how they look at mobile commerce in others and we need to prevent that,” he said.

The body will also be able to offer a single industry mouthpiece to government and regulators as interest in m-commerce grows and will invariable attract more attention for the state and consumer groups.

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