This week’s OMMA event for mobile commerce in New York is surely a sign that mobile commerce has come of age. Of course, the stats speak for themselves: by the end of the year, half of all traffic to retail sites will be mobile, and 51% of online buyers will make a purchase from a mobile device.
But the level of engagement from retailers to support this event is a very positive sign. I remember back in 2010 when I helped deliver Marks & Spencer’s first mobile commerce site in the UK, no one had any idea if it would work, and the question was frequently asked: “Who’s going to buy socks and pants off their mobile phone?” The answers came thick and fast, with each week bringing new sales records, and stories of double beds and leather couch suites being purchased on mobile generating huge excitement.
But I feel that it’s very easy for the industry to now pat ourselves on the back that we mostly have mobile-ready transactional sites that are delivering decent returns. Perhaps a little too easy.
For me, the goalposts have shifted for mobile commerce. While we know that we need to deliver simple and effective transactions, the reality is that mobile’s influence has spread inexorably across the purchase funnel, and most retailers’ mobile offerings are only addressing the needs of users right at the very end.
I believe there are new trends in commerce that only mobile can really deliver on, and I hope we will hear a lot about them today.
Retail as entertainment
The game is on for mobile and retail – the question is, will we be looking far enough into the future?