Ecommerce Goes Mobile

By Eva Alsis

More and more Americans are relying on their mobile phones and other mobile devices for tasks that they once performed with their computer. These innovations are changing the way that ecommerce retailers do business. Is your business ready for the mobile ecommerce era? Is your device-specific website ready? Read on and find out.

Mobile Commerce: The Next E-Tool
What is mobile commerce? In a sentence, it is using a mobile phone to make a sale, make a payment, or otherwise do business over the internet. Millions of smartphone users in the United States are already beginning to rely more and more on their phones for these tasks. This means that setting up your business for success likely means setting it up for mobile ecommerce. Amazon alone claims that they have sold more than one billion dollars in products over mobile devices in the past twelve months.

Convenient Access
One of the benefits of making your ecommerce website available to mobile users is that they can access you from anywhere. With a nation on the go, this offers a huge advantage. Instead of adding your business to an already long ‘to do’ list, your customers can buy immediately, as soon as the impulse hits them. That’s a powerful tool that you can’t afford to do without. In addition, mobile phones can be a valuable business tool for owners. Even if you do only a few ‘in person’ sales, many mobile are enabled with powerful business tools, such as the ability to accept credit card payments from anywhere with cell phone reception.

Online Promotions and Free Advertising
Mobile marketing campaigns such as loyalty programs, ‘check in’ promotions, and text promotions are not just attractive to the customer—they should be attractive to you as well. Once you invest in setting up the programs, they cost you either very little or absolutely nothing. However, be careful that your promotions are sensible and don’t become spam. You want to entice your customers, not annoy them.

The Downsides
Part of setting up your ecommerce business for mobile sales is ensuring that mobile users have the same safeguards as other internet shoppers. We predict that as mobile ecommerce becomes more common, so will mobile fraud. You can be proactive by making sure your payment vendor is PA-DSS compliant—that is the global standard for mobile security. Also, give your mobile customers the same privacy rights and information that your online consumers receive. This will make them feel safer in dealing with your business from the mobile device. Mobile technology can be used for good or evil, but you need to avoid ‘the dark side’.

Another consideration is that websites created for mobile phones tend to be difficult for computer customers to use. Many companies have solved this by using a separate website just for mobile phones. If you do this, you must be sure that your mobile site is visible to mobile versions of popular search engines. Whatever the model that you decide on, it is important to get into the mobile ecommerce revolution while it is still young!