Beiträge

10 Essentials for Mobile Commerce

2012 is the year of mobile commerce, figures of PayPal and Google prove, that you as a retailer, will lose customers to your competitors if you’ll not provide your online shop on smartphones.

In the next weeks I will publish a series of essential facts and hints that you’ll have to take in account for your mobile commerce strategy.

Today we start with points 1, 2 and 3.

1. Don’t treat the touchpoint mobile isolated

The most common mistake of many retailer is, that they treat the touchpoint mobile isolated, like a channel. You cannot decide whether or not developing a mobile commerce strategy on the fact that the mobile touchpoint itself will not generate enough turnover to get the right ROI. The touchpoint mobile is not isolated, it is the connection, the bridge between the offline world with its brick and mortar stores and the online world with the online flagship shops. There is a known recent study from search giant Google which says that 37% of customers search for information via the mobile touchpoint before they buy online. Even more customers (47%) search for information mobile before they buy in a retail store.
These numbers underscore the relevance of the mobile touchpoint even today. Nobody knows were the market will be in the nearest future, but all forecasts and projections pinpoint to a rosy future. The touchpoint mobile will play a major role in future commerce strategies of multi-touchpoint retailer.

2. Create a value added for your customer

Don’t start your mobile activities without knowing the goal of these activities. Create a strategy to integrate the mobile touchpoint in your commerce strategy. The overall goal should be to create a value added for your customer. Why should they download an app or visit your mobile optimized online shop? Now you’re probably asking yourself how to do this?! Read on and you’ll hopefully know more.

3. Connect the different touchpoints

In order to create a value added you have to connect the different touchpoints. To manifest its strength, mobile and all the other touchpoints have to be interconnected in various ways: Persistent baskets over different devices. Single-sign-on over all devices and touchpoints. Possibility for the customer to return online or mobile purchased products in a brick and mortar store. One central stock for all touchpoints. Following this, a connected POS cash register system. And so on and so on. The most difficult task in connecting the touchpoints is, to align all IT processes. All systems have to be intermeshed seamlessly and have to communicate with each other. At the same time the customer must not recognize these hilarious complex backend-processes, for them it have to be simple to do the things they want to do, no matter at which touchpoint and what time!

I hope you found it helpful for your business and I would appreciate it if you spread the word over the social media channels.

Stay tuned for the next part of the series!

Go mobile with your OXID eShop with apps for iPhone and Android

OXID eShop merchants can now offer their products to mobile purchasers via branded apps for smartphones made by mobilemojo.

Free Application for Internet shoppers

OXID eShop merchants can offer their products to mobile purchasers via branded apps for smartphones made by mobilemojo. The application communicates with the backend of OXID eShop 4 through an XML interface to synchronize product and customer data. Purchasers can browse the product range of OXID eShops with their cell phones in an easy and intuitive way. „In the age of networked communications, the customer is no longer tied to the PC at home. More and more activities of daily living can be done while mobile – this is the future of shopping.“ says Robert Rieser, partner at mobilemojo.

Intuitive to use – multiple payment options

The mobile shopping application has both text and category search functionality. It provides products in a list view; product details include information about variants, availability and ordering. In the checkout process, purchasers can see the item prices and shipping charges as they appear in the online store at their PC. Payment methods can be chosen by the merchant. Cash in advance, direct debit, invoice or PayPal are available. The customer account has a login and a register function. In addition to these basic functions, the iPhone and Android applications can be individually extended by specific content, functions and services.

Buy cinema and bus tickets with your mobile phone

„mobilemojo combines proven web technology with innovative mobile approaches. Using our software, online merchants get a branded app to provide mobile shopping to their customers – regardless of location and time“ Roland Fesenmayr, CEO of OXID eSales AG says. Fesenmayr adds: „Unlike smartphone website templates, that often display the online store only in a different view, the app opens up opportunities to expand the eCommerce business model by enabling innovative additional services. Think of location based booking of cinema tickets, buying public transport tickets with a cell phone, linking one’s own product catalog with barcode scanning or simply a pizza delivery service configurator“.

Available from March 10th

The mobile shopping applications by mobilemojo will be available from March 10th as two products: Base and an Enterprise Edition for owners of OXID eShop 4. The Enterprise version provides additional tailoring to the customer enhancements and individual adjustments to the distribution structure of the online merchant.

Basic functions of Mobile Shopping Application Overview

  • For iPhone version 3.1and higher and Android version 1.6 and higher
  • Connection to the backend of OXID eShop 4
  • Global search
  • Category Search
  • Overview, including product image and price
  • Product details including pictures, product information and variants
  • Standalone checkout process within the application
  • Login and transfer of customer data
  • Register new customers
  • Checkout via PayPal, credit card and direct debit available
  • Customer-scale prices
  • Delivery Status Indicator

Webshops going mobile at last?

It’s been a while since people were actually discussing mCommerce as a true hype and latest trend in digital media. Yet slowly but surely the use of mobile devices and services grew more and more intense and today, as the mobile internet is quite popular, almost everybody involved in digital business has at least heard of mobile commerce.

 

The necessary hardware is wide-spread nowadays as a great variety of PDAs and smartphones has been brought to market within the last years and months. Especially in business context a smartphone has become a true essential: there are only very few managers left without a mobile inbox and 24/7 WLAN access – thanks to network operators’ special interest in premium customers, as well as their flexible flat rate contracts, and probably some peer group dynamics…

 

The Blackberry was for a long time the most common mobile internet device until summer 2008, when Apple’s iPhone 3G hit the market. With new conceptions of mobile internet and cell phone usability suddenly present in any kind of media (virtually and literally): the new age of mobile digital lifestyle was finally publicly acknowledged – … and iPhone declared its king by the large community of Apple fans.

 

Looking back today with some months’ distance it has to be admitted that, certainly, there was some kind of hype around the iPhone, marvellously staged by a yet another ingenious Apple marketing campaign. But it is equally true that the iPhone’s new navigation and display capabilities and many genuinely interactive applications in the ever flourishing Apple AppStore introduced some new standards in technology and customers enthusiasm to the mass market. This set the bar very high for any competitor attempting to follow and fuelled competition for new standards in usability and convenience for surfing the internet.

 

T-Mobile G1, launched about 5 months ago, still is the most promising competitor to the iPhone today. According to some recent announcements the soon to be launched Palm Pré might become the strongest rival to the iPhone, as Palm seems to be accepting the challenge to offer something entirely new to early adopters.

Any appraisal or disbelief today being premature, nevertheless this recent development can already be rated something clearly positive for the evolving market: As competition is always good for business, users might be so lucky as to experience some more competitive pricing and a shift in quality soon.

But -of course- the simple purchase of a mobile-internet capable device is by no means an indicator of its actual use.
Some voices claim mobile internet and mobile commerce are broadly used already. But seen up close there are still more surveys on mCommerce being conducted than reliable survey results being published. (some random survey on mobile ticketing, a special form of mCommerce)

But rumour has it that Google web search already detects a considerable percentage of queries stemming from mobile devices. (no recent figures confirmed though)
And those who are frequently checking their twitter account cannot help but notice an increasing number of entries submitted via some mobile application.

 

Departing from this data basis -knowing that there are suitable devices at hand and also a considerable user base willing to actively engage in mobile internet usage- there is still one premise missing to provide the condition of possibility to mCommerce:

Do the duly equipped mCommerce prospects find some adequate content to deal with?
Are there shops (and products) to entice people to actually engage in mCommerce?

 

This might be boiled down to e.g. the following three (to name only few):

  • Is the shop’s search field visible at first glance? (Mobile shoppers mostly prefer the quick way to shop as they are usually perfectly aware of what they are looking for.)
  • Does the shop offer appropriate payment methods and delivery conditions to guarantee a smooth shopping experience?
  • And finally did the merchant take all security precautions required and (very importantly!) did she choose the appropriate means of communication to make their mobile shop visitors feel safe to shop regardless of whether they are browsing via cell phone display or laptop screen?

 

OXID eShop’s standard templates were made to fit some basic mobile commerce needs, but of course only very few OXID eShops out there left it at that and instead succeeded in creating a vast variety of individual front end designs. And just like that: payment, security, and most of the other key success factors for mCommerce are up to the merchant’s individual business model.

In business development at OXID we have been evaluating several options to truly embrace mCommerce and we started working on some specific ideas since beginning of last year already.
With long term partner and well-known usability expert Shoplupe we are now taking the next step to further this topic!

This morning Shoplupe launched a new consulting product: iPhone expert report:
an overall shop usability to check your online shop for iPhone compatibility. There is a two weeks special offer exclusive for OXID eShop merchants that any OXID owner attempting to approach mCommerce should not leave unexploited.

Read more about the offer at OXID Forum and shoplupe.com.

And also don’t miss the interview with mCommerce authority Robert Rieser (Mobilemojo), whose customers include German mail-order house Quelle GmbH: http://blog.shoplupe.com/.

I hope for feedback and lively community discussion in our OXID forum. Share your know-how and individual mCommerce experiences with all of us.