September 21, 2009

"We're ready when you are" - Consumers' take on Mobile Commerce

eMarketer has just released a report that provides a comprehensive overview of a trend that will completely change the retail industry in the coming years – Mobile Commerce. According to Jeffrey Grau, Senior Analyst at eMarketer, “A number of retailers and third-party developers have introduced mobile apps that give consumers powerful new shopping tools and added convenience. But most retailers are either standing on the sidelines or in the midst of planning their mobile commerce strategy.”

The tools for mCommerce are ready and waiting, but are users willing to take the bite? The report says that customers are willing, only if the process was less complicated. “Mobile phone users say they would make more purchases if the process were not so cumbersome, products were easier to find and their devices supported secure credit card transactions.”

More than 70 million users in the United States will access the Internet from their mobile devices this year. In spite of limited support from retailers, many of them are still eager to use their smartphones for buying products, the report highlights. “Consumers are willing to use their mobile phones to buy items such as pizza, movie tickets and travel reservations. And some have even used their devices to purchase consumer electronics, computers and apparel.”

So when both the technologies and the customers are ready for shopping on the go, why are most of the retailers still holding back? According to a survey by RIS News earlier this year, retailers cited capital constraints, and consumer privacy and security issues as major obstacles in the way of mCommerce implementation. Many of them are not sure how to extend their existing eCommerce capabilities to the mobile channel in such a way that buyers love the experience of shopping through mobile.

Many top brands like 1-800-FLOWERS, Ralph Lauren, Sears, Amazon, Urban Outfitters, and Galeries Lafayette have already gone mobile, so they can be where their customers are. Customers love the comfort of shopping on the go, simplicity of usage, and speed at which transactions can be completed.

The eMarketer report concludes with a final note to online retailers, “Savvy retailers should not neglect this channel, because mobile shoppers are valuable customers. People who download mobile applications, including shopping apps, are a highly coveted consumer segment. Mobile buyers tend to be repeat purchasers with a higher order value than average consumer, and it can be important for them to complete transactions with ease even if it means spending more.”

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