Mobile commerce: The opportunities and implications for retailers

Did you know that almost 60 percent of adults in the U.S. browse the Web with a mobile device?

And that number could continue to grow as members of the Gen Y population continue to educate their older family members and friends on the shopping (and saving) capabilities of the mobile Web.

Investor's Business Daily reported this week on the 2010 Shopper Experience Study conducted by Cognizant Technology Solutions and RIS (Retail Info Systems) News. The findings should be a wake-up call to retailers that aren't putting any stock or resources into their mobile image.

According the study, 71 percent of Gen Y survey respondents report using mobile coupons to get e-commerce discounts. And increasingly, they are sharing knowledge of these deals (and how to find them) with their older (and more affluent) counterparts. The study also found that more than 80 percent of survey respondents who earn more than $200,000 annually are using online coupons found on their mobile devices.

For retailers, mobile shoppers represent a growing market and potential source of revenue.

Some are already tapping into this demographic and investing in new marketing and advertising campaigns to enhance the mobile shopping experience. This summer, Target introduced customizable online weekly advertisements that let users handpick the types of offers they see. Gap, Ann Taylor, and other popular retail brands have launched Foursquare campaigns, offering discounts to Foursquare users. And others, including JCPenny, have begun distributing mobile coupons to shoppers.

While there's no doubt that the audience and the potential (Juniper Research expects the mobile retail market to exceed $12 billion by 2014) are there, if retailers aren't paying careful attention to the representation of their brand on mobile devices, their image could suffer. As more retailers begin to focus energy on targeting mobile shoppers, and consumers begin to expect the high level of performance they are used to on Internet websites, performance monitoring of m-dot sites (mobile-specific websites recognizable by the "m." preceding the company name in the URL) is going to become increasingly more important.


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