From the NRF BIG Show: Embracing the Cross-Channel Mobile Opportunity
Mobile commerce sales hit $1.2 billion in 2009 and will grow to $2.42 billion this year, with that number forecasted to reach $23.83 billion by 2015, said Jamey Maki, director of e-commerce and online experiences at Golfsmith International, in a session he co-presented at this week's National Retail Federation BIG Show in New York City.
Maki noted that items being purchased on mobile devices aren't just popular music downloads or games. People are purchasing pet Snuggies, diamond rings, complete golf sets and even tractors. Yes, tractors. From the cheap to luxury items, mobile is a growing presence in retail. The variety of goods being purchased via mobile devices means now is the time for all retailers to enter the channel — no matter how expensive or inexpensive their inventoriers are.
Before launching your mobile site or app, Maki suggests asking yourself the following questions:
• Should you do it yourself or partner with a mobile commerce provider?
• How can you offer a unique mobile experience?
• How can you grow revenue and drive consumers to your brick-and-mortar stores?
Should you do it yourself or partner with a mobile commerce provider? "Don't rush, and don't do it yourself," Maki advised. It's probably best — depending on your overall business objective — to hire an outside company or mobile commerce expert to help you. There are many different aspects regarding mobile, and many ways to get it wrong.
Choose a partner with a platform specific to retail, and one that can deliver an optimized site and rich apps. Once your mobile site has launched, be sure to optimize it for each device (BlackBerry, Android, iPhone). Also, continuously update and enhance the experience. Mobile is evolving rapidly; be sure to keep up.
How can you offer a unique mobile experience? Try offering incentives to subscribers such as coupons, rebates and other special offers, Maki suggested. (This can be done via SMS text messaging.) Provide information that consumers find helpful, including product information and details, related products, how-to information, user ratings and reviews, wish lists, and product recommendations. Also be sure to integrate your social media sites into your mobile initiatives. The social media space is growing as well, and the more touchpoints you have, the better.