iPhones Ushering in the Age of Mobile Commerce

Nov 18, 2008 8:14 PM  By

Mobile marketers will be thrilled this holiday season as iPhone 3Gs fly off shelves. Why?

Because data from a recent M:Metrics survey shows that the handset’s users are 10 times more likely than owners of other mobile devices to search the Web. Easy consumer access to the information super highway is a boon for marketers looking to take advantage of another channel to engage consumers predisposed to online shopping.

Innovations such as the iPhone 3G are creating a perfect storm of mobile broadband availability, shifts in mobile customer behavior and the availability of the first mobile user interface (UI) capable of delivering an actionable ecommerce experience. T

The touch screen UI on the iPhone and similar mobile devices can deliver exciting interactive mobile experiences on par with—or sometimes even better than—desktop computers. The combination of convenience and user experience will be the driving force in ushering in a new era of mobile commerce.

The success or failure of mobile marketing initiatives will rest heavily on the look, feel and operational capabilities of mobile storefronts. With a seemingly infinite variety of handsets on the market, it is virtually impossible at this stage to design a universal UI for each one.

This brings us to the first tenet of a successful mobile ecommerce strategy:

· Design for a specific device: Consider which handset caters to your desired demographic and design your mobile UI to its exact specifications. Focusing on one device ensures your customers receive a picture-perfect mobile commerce storefront.

Once you have targeted a device, you will need to create a simple interface and implement tools that enable customers to easily navigate your storefront and find what they need, including:

· Simplify payment and store locator: Always consider the context of the mobile shopping experience. Consumers shopping via smart phone are either on the go or may be in a matter of minutes. One or two-click payment options, easy-to-find store locators and “Contact Us” details will greatly reduce the number of abandoned mobile shopping carts and can also be used to drive customers to nearby brick and mortar stores.

· Location-based services (LBS) and multimedia: Requesting a call to action for time-specific or location-specific discounts and promotional items are powerful sales tools.

· Personalize: Allow users to establish preferred settings, alerts and “watch lists” to foster an intimate knowledge exchange and drive ROI.

· Minimize clutter: Determine what your audience needs to know and intensify that information with clear, bold fonts and high-resolution graphics.

Finally, as with all new initiatives, ensure that your mobile commerce efforts enhance all your selling channels.

Jamus Driscoll (jdriscoll@demandware.com) is vice president of marketing at Demandware, an e-commerce platform provider.