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The only problem with mobile commerce is the lack of goods on the mobile shelves

Who cares if it’s the year of mobile? Consumers certainly don’t. This question has been a yearly obsession of the mobile industry for almost a decade. Thankfully, customers have just got on with their lives and found the mobile internet has become inextricably intertwined with them.

They’re not obsessing about a tipping point or user interface or network capability.They’re just living across every form of digital media, regardless of the size of screen.

Can there be any clearer illustration of this than Amazon and Ebay both expecting mobile revenues to exceed $1bn this year? That’s $1bn. It’s hard to dismiss mobile commerce as an immature medium when companies are turning over that level of business.

But walk down any high street, virtual or physical, and see how many businesses you can find with flourishing m-commerce operations.People want to be able to shop via their mobile phone. As we report this week, a survey in August found only a fifth of the UK’s top 20 retail sites offering mobile commerce, whereas last month the IAB found over half of consumers questioned were already shopping via their mobile. Lightspeed Research found over half of mobile shoppers saying they were likely to repeat it.

Reasons for this behaviour shift are simple. First, security is no longer a concern. Robust systems such as Google Checkout and retailers such as Ocado’s own systems are removing payment hurdles, like having to enter credit card details on a handset. Also, better devices have made browsing slicker.

In fact, the only problem is the lack of goods on the mobile shelves. A lot of this is down to confidence. While the likes of John Lewis and Marks & Spencer have the budgets to invest, others, perhaps dissuaded by the industry’s own inward-looking obsession with the ’year of mobile’, have been afraid to jump in. So the joint industry initiative to help boost this confidence is sorely welcomed.

It’s time to stop obsessing about holy grails like the year of mobile and start focusing on the customers. And they want to go shopping.


Published 28 October, 2010 by NMA Staff

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