While mobile commerce seems to be taking hold in other markets, especially Japan, the UK’s retailers seem to be slow so far to anticipate this trend, with very few having launched transactional mobile sites.
Looking at a US article on mobile commerce usability today from GetElastic, I was struck by how many of the big name retailers in the States are already catering for customers on mobiles.
Sears, BestBuy, Ralph Lauren, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and others all have m-commerce sites, yet I can think of very few in the UK.
As Linda says on GetElastic:
There are a handful of retailers who’ve taken the lead and developed
mobile sites. Some are good, some are great, all are better than a
If you have an iPhone or some other smartphone with internet access, it is possible to shop online from a standard e-commerce site, but it is a usability nightmare, and only to be attempted in desperation. What retailers need is a dedicated m-commerce site that provides mobile shoppers with a stripped-down, usable version of the main website.
Retailers unsure of the potential for mobile commerce should look at the example of Japan where, according to this report, up to 25% of a retailer’s sales can come via mobiles.
If mobile users want to buy from your site, why not make it easy for them? Especially if, like Interflora, you have a product that would be useful for people on the move.
So which retailers have transactional mobile sites in the UK?
Amazon: This is about the best of the bunch, providing a more basic version of the main Amazon.co.uk website, yet still keeping many of the better features.
This means that you can still search though the entire product range, read reviews, and purchase through your mobile. If you already have an Amazon account with saved payment details, it’s even easier.
eBay: As well as a mobile version of the website, eBay UK also has an iPhone app which allows you to bid and keep an eye on your buying and selling activity. While both the mobile site and app have their faults, you can at least bid and buy from your phone.
Interflora: The flowers and gifts retailer recently launched a transactional mobile site, which offers a limited range of flowers and gifts on a stripped down version of the site.
And that’s as many as I can find so far. There are some decent mobile shopping comparison sites, such as Sccope and Reevoo, but having found your product, you then have to go to a site that has not been optimised for mobile to complete the transaction.
If you know of any other UK m-commerce sites I’ve missed, or you work for a retailer that is planning to launch a new mobile site, let us know in the comments below…