With the increasing popularity of smartphones, it’s not hard to see how mobile commerce (m-commerce) is on the rise. Every day developers produce more new and interesting applications or ‘apps’ for the iPhone, Android and the recently launched Windows Mobile 7.
A recent report from Foresee, confirmed that m-commerce is gaining momentum in the online marketing sphere. A survey of over 10,000 users at top retail sites showed that 11% of sales were generated from m-commerce in 2010, compared to just 2% the previous year. Amazon reported that sales from its mobile version of the site or its Amazon iPhone app earned them over a billion dollars this year. Similarly eBay reported that sales through their mobile app were also up 134%.
Online Browsing & Buying
Shoppers currently use m-commerce to research product information or find a store's location while on the move. They check its opening hours, find out if stores have their desired item in-stock and check how much it costs. 30% of those surveyed used their phones in these ways, almost three times last year’s number.
Ecommerce retailers take note: those shoppers who identified themselves as being “very satisfied” with a store’s m-commerce site were 30% more likely to shop there, both in person and online, illustrating how m-commerce supports the traditional in-store browsing and buying method.
Doing the Maths
These numbers might not sound like much initially, however, if viewed in a historical context with the internet as a whole, there are some parallels. In the early days of internet shopping, shoppers were far more likely to use the internet for product research, whether they ended up buying it online or in person. While 73% of users researched online, only 46% made any purchases online. Despite the fact that m-commerce sales have tripled from 396 million in 2008 to 1.2 billion in 2009, this still only represents a small fraction of the ecommerce picture. Keeping users engaged and building brand loyalty will go a long way towards making m-commerce pay off for e-commerce outlets of all sizes.
One observation noted was the need for e-tailers to streamline their shopping processes to make the m-commerce shopping experience more pleasurable and user friendly.
So What Does This Mean for Product and E-commerce Websites?
The statistics highlight the ever increasing importance of having an online presence to showcase your products, even without an e-commerce facility this can lead to sizeable increases in sales as a result of online product research.
For those of you who host e-commerce sites, a greater proportion of your annual marketing budgets will need to be allocated to online marketing activity such as search engine optimisation to ensure that your products can be found online by your potential customers. Greater resources will also need to be channelled into creating a user friendly, secure m-commerce facility for your business.