If mobile internet “was the next big thing” in 1999 why are so few retailers offering m-commerce now?

Back in December 1999 the BBC pondered whether mobile internet was “the next big thing”? Twelve years later Apple sold more iPhones than the total number of Macs in the preceding twenty-eight years, and in March 2012 saw a staggering annual 254% increase in the number of mobile transactions.

So why are so few retailers offering an m-commerce option? It’s staggering that just ¼ of the largest European e-commerce providers offer a specific mobile service, given the resources typically available to them. This figure is undoubtedly more worrying when you look at smaller e-commerce operations.

It’s your obligation to increase profits
One of the most crucial responsibilities of business owners is to be where the customers are. Given that one of the largest affiliate networks saw that 1 in 14 sales were mobile generated in the first four months of the year, compared to 1 in 50 last year and also given that the conversion rates for iPhone users are typically 1/3rd and iPod Touch 1/6th average rates [internal figures], you’re simply turning customers away at your door. But are your competitors welcoming them?

It’s not just about converting customers; it’s also about converting new ones.


[Source: Our Mobile Planet (A Google Website)]

A mobile solution doesn’t just increase conversion rates. If correctly implemented, it will actually increase the volume of traffic you attract. Google has recently launched a specific piece of software to search and list smartphone-enabled websites – above ‘normal’ websites when people are browsing on mobile devices. It is crucial, therefore, that your mobile solution adequately caters and responds to this ever-changing landscape and builds mobile SEO in as standard.

And what about your affiliates? Cater for mobile, or lose them.
Affiliate Window has recently produced figures that “affiliates will lose £1.2m in commissions for every 1% of sales through mobile handsets”.  The issue is two-fold, however. Affiliates know that conversion rates are much lower on mobile devices and are also fully aware that a significant number of retailers that haven’t implemented tracking. Merchants that fall in to either of these categories will face greater pressure from affiliates to cater for mobile. Before too long, and given greater choice, affiliates will start to turn away from merchants that lag behind in their mobile strategy.

So why haven’t retailers deployed a mobile site?
One of the reasons we’ve found that people haven’t implemented an m-commerce offering yet is that they believe it’ll be as complicated as the process of getting their main site live. One of the most stressful projects companies go through is implementing an e-commerce site and it’s understandable why people wouldn’t want to go through all that again.

Thankfully, it takes a lot less time (an hour at most) and significantly less money to get an m-commerce site live compared to e-commerce.

Essentially it’s as easy as 1,2,3:

  1. Give us a call
  2. Add your products (usually uploading a .csv file)
  3. Paste in a couple of lines of code into your template.

Back To The Future

This time next year we’ll be doing another blog post, just like this. Hopefully then you can sit there smug in the knowledge that your mobile sales are rolling in and you spent an hour wisely getting your site live. If not, we’ll be still be here ready to help.

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