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The Proliferation of Mobile Commerce

By: David Hess, Senior Business Development Manager

I have witnessed with increasing alarm the ease with which my wife is able to use her iPad to shop while sitting on our couch…in her pajamas…sipping a cup of coffee. What I affectionately refer to as “couch commerce” is simply one more example of how mobile is effectively changing the consumer landscape. I should point out that my wife is not merely shopping, but is actively engaged in sharing her finds via Facebook and Pinterest. She and her girlfriends, many of whom live hundreds if not thousands of miles away, now “ooh” and “aah” virtually over the shoes, blouses and jewelry they find.
Last week, I was in a large sporting goods store and decided that I really wanted a new tennis racquet. I was able to pull up reviews on my phone to compare the three models that I was most interested in at the store. With my final selection in hand, I was ready to check out, but first needed to do a price check. Scanning the barcode with the RedLaser app, I was shocked to find that another nearby retailer offered the same racquet for $40 less.
In addition to the two basic scenarios above, mobile commerce has even greater implications. My Starbucks app allows me to find the nearest store (and get directions, if necessary), make purchases with my phone, and collect reward points. The app is simple yet elegant, and very user friendly.  It is my first app that truly serves as a virtual mobile wallet. There are numerous players currently working to further the mobile wallet, such as PayPal, Mastercard, Google, Apple, Amazon and others. The primary challenge at this time seems to be the ability for these big players to align on technology standardization so that mobile payments can work on various devices and leverage multiple credit cards. With billions of dollars at stake, you can bet that this technology will continue to move forward.
Nearly every client of mine has interest in leveraging mobile devices in some way. I find that the most compelling use of mobile technology is the application that provides the user a helpful tool or utility to enhance their experience. This could be social media interconnectivity, location services to direct the user to the nearest store, reward point collection and redemption or simply the ability to scan and re-order a product. Regardless of the primary business case, you should be considering the bigger picture of the proliferation of mobile commerce. According to a recent study by Monetate, in the last year, tablet traffic has increased 348 percent while smartphone visits grew by 117 percent.  Optimizing your site for mobile devices and considering features to empower your customers has never been more important.

David Hess is a Senior Business Development Manager for Perficient, Inc.

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