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Appreciating New Consumer Options

Consumers are rapidly expanding their spending with smartphones. It’s easy to see that mobile selling and profits are on the way up. Across various industries, merchants have reported that consumer shopping activity and buying are rising, even as more mCommerce services are emerging.

According to John Donahoe, President and CEO of eBay, “Mobile is clearly becoming a new way people shop. ... [eBay has] nearly tripled mobile gross merchandise value year-over-year to nearly $2 billion, with strong holiday shopping momentum in late 2010. And in 2011, we expect mobile to double to $4 billion.”

Along with this consumer behavior that promises increased profits come added initiatives for mobile merchants. There was a time when smartphones did well to provide access to the Internet, apps, email, calendars and contacts, text messaging, games, music, videos, and shopping. But in 2011, merchants with mobile websites and apps need to keep pace with consumers’ increased demands for many next-generation mobile shopping features.

These include common smartphone website and app features:

  • Location-based mobile services that help consumers find real-time deals and offers in physical stores.
  • “Transparent” pricing that allows comparison-shopping among mobile and physical stores (and, if the buys are better, potentially favoring more mobile than in-store purchases).
  • Mobile website and app product reviews about what to buy and what to avoid. Consumers can now scan a product’s bar code to immediately pull up web ratings about the item’s pros and cons and make an informed purchase.
  • Social shopping that lets consumers interact with peer opinions while reading and comparing mobile product and service reviews.
  • Discount offers and coupons pushed to consumers’ smartphones to notify them of instant shopping bargains and drive “foot” traffic to offline stores (according to a Forrester Research report, 34 percent of U.S. smartphone users received such notifications in 2010).
  • Immediate gratification in obtaining various products, services, and content—especially of digital goods, like music and video—delivered instantly and wirelessly.

This is just a sampling of the latest consumer shopping options in the fast-changing world of mCommerce. Knowing what consumers expect and anticipating what the industry may offer them will help you apply sensible, appropriate options for your mobile customers.

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