M-Commerce Vendors Gaining Ground, Branding Brand Tops Ratings Report

by , Jan 2, 2014, 10:07 PM
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For companies that provide m-commerce technology, this holiday season was surely one of good cheer as mobile shopping rose significantly over last year. These vendors don’t typically get much coverage in the torrent of stories about holiday retail business.

But a recent Forrester Wave report took a closer look at 10 companies in the category, evaluating them across 75 criteria across three primary areas: their current offering, strategy and market presence. Coming out on top was Branding Brand, cited for a rapidly growing retail client base, pushing innovation, and a strong technology platform.

In addition to a strong grounding in consumer-focused mobile Web and apps, the report found the firm has extended its technology to other commerce platforms, especially in-store kiosk and apps for store associates.

“Unlike other mobile agencies, Branding Brand’s investment in the underlying mCommerce platform allows it to rapidly push out new mobile innovations (e.g., Passbook) across its client base at a low cost," stated the report authored by Forrester analyst Peter Sheldon. That's helped it gain a strategic partnership with eBay Enterprise and $17 million in venture funding to date.

The remainder of the companies analyzed were not far behind, rated as “strong performer” and included Merkle Fifth Finger, July Systems, Kony, Mad Mobile Mobify, Moovweb, Netbiscuits, Skava and Usablenet. These companies, however, were sorted into different subcategories.

Mad Mobile, Skava, and Usablenet were described as strong, full-service providers. Along with a mobile technology platform, they also offer mobile strategy consulting, creative skills and ongoing support. Usablenet has the largest installed base of the three, which extends beyond the retail industry.

Merkle Fifth Finger, Mobify, Moovweb and Netbiscuits focus on the mobile Web rather than apps. “Although they all offer professional services, the real value proposition is their respective development platforms,” according to the study. Kony and July System were characterized as a good fit for large enterprises that want a single mobile platform supporting a variety of device operating systems for consumer and business apps.

Forrester estimates 34% of eBusiness organizations have developed mobile Web sites, and 26% have created mobile apps in-house. Some 28% work with mobile vendors or agencies or use third-party technologies for creating mobile Web sites, while 35% do so for building apps. Only 9% outsource mobile Web solutions form their e-commerce providers.

The report said m-commerce software companies typically have four core competencies: an “obsession” with m-commerce trends and metrics; a continually evolving platform; the ability to adopted new device capabilities like Apple’s Passbook quickly; and a portfolio of pre-built commerce modules, such as for store location and barcode scanning.

The 10 companies in the Wave report were selected based on several criteria, including a significant focus on providing m-commerce tools for multichannel retailers, having at least $5 million in revenue, and interest among Forrester clients. 

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