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Mobile Commerce - the Next Big Thing?
(Marketing Memo June 2010)

After consumers adopted email, e-commerce, and social media, businesses began to exploit these technologies. Now, many consumers use mobile devices to order books from Amazon.com and trade collectibles on eBay.com. M-commerce involves providing goods and services to customers via iPhones, iPads, Blackberries, and other wireless digital devices with Internet access. Ina Steiner, AuctionBytes.com Founder, Editor, says that in 2010 "eBay expects to generate $1.5 billion in merchandise volume through mobile commerce." B2B companies should also consider integrating m-commerce into their marketing strategies.

B2B pioneers offer m-commerce content and transactions

The New York Times offers free or inexpensive applications (apps) for obtaining news on mobile devices. One $5.99 app offers news, plus lessons for people learning English. The Boston Globe's free Boston.com site also has information for mobile users. Business people and consumers can use PCs or mobile devices to buy PC components, ebooks, or bread makers from Newegg (newegg.com).

Exhibitors at food trade shows are providing buyers from supermarkets with smart phones so they can place orders at the trade shows, reports Joop Rijk, President, Advanced Media Productions.

Integrate m-commerce initiatives into your marketing strategy

According to Sue Feldman, Research VP, Search and Discovery Technologies, IDC, the small format and limited bandwidth of mobile devices mean that content should be "pertinent" to the receivers and their "activities at the moment. One way to deliver highly pertinent information is to limit what you send by location, type of device, and user profile." Other experts say frequently updating the content for mobile users increases relevance. Other tips:

  • Business specific content - Develop content for customers on-the-go. Provide information that attendees of your conferences and events can access during the events.
  • A channel for customer feedback - Use mobile devices to obtain customer feedback before, during, and after your company's events or at other times.
  • Advertising or marketing copy - Create ads and marketing messages that are targeted towards the needs of mobile customers and prospects.
  • Localized offerings - Offer special deals or coupons to customers in particular regions or visiting particular locales.
  • Distance learning - Use mobile devices to train sales people or customers to use new products.
  • Transactions - Provide mechanisms for distributors and partners to make purchases securely from the field while they are servicing their customers.

Joop Rijk says the best mobile sites address search, are specially designed for mobile screens, and are designed for mobile devices. Successful mobile sites limit content to the interests and needs of users on-the-go and are designed for navigation on small screens. Special interfaces and architecture are best, but can be costly.

Deploying both social media and m-commerce can be a way to establish your company as a market leader, notes Louise Rijk, VP Marketing and Sales, Advanced Media. Once customers are comfortable with accessing content that you have designed or repurposed for mobile devices, you can let customers purchase your most popular products or useful applications using these devices. The technology is here, adds Dominick Vacarelli, Boston.com.

*www.mobilecommercedaily.com/five-trends-driving-mobile-marketing-and-commerce-this-year/

Copyright Ruth Winett. All rights reserved.

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