| By Chuck Schaeffer
Mobile Commerce and Retail Use Cases That Drive Revenue Results
Mobile commerce originated in 1997 when two Coca-Cola vending machines near Helsinki accepted payment using SMS text messages. Since then mobile commerce, or m-commerce as it’s known among those in the know, has come to include just about everything that uses mobile devices to perform commercial transactions.
The market growth of m-commerce is too big for retailers to ignore. At the CONNECT Mobile Innovation Summit, Gartner analyst Michael McGuire shared that in the US, 22% of digital commerce revenue comes from mobile. Not quite as bullish but similarly substantial, an eMarketer study forecasts 25% of all online retail transactions in the U.S. will take place on mobile devices by 2017.
In absolute numbers, Forrester forecasts U.S. online retail sales will reach $370 billion in 2017, accounting for a tenth of all retail sales. eMarketer is much more bullish, and predicts the ecommerce market will continue its double digit growth to reach $434.2 billion in 2017. Irrespective of exact figures, the market growth is exceptional, and mobile commerce makes up the single greatest growth sector in the overall ecommerce market. Clearly, retailers that ignore or fail to prepare and capitalize on the market growth for m-commerce do so at their own peril.
In addition to m-commerce transactions, mobility is increasingly influencing in-store sales. According to a Deloitte study, the "mobile influence factor" — the effect of smartphones on in-store sales — on retail purchases will increase to $689 billion, or 19% of total store sales, by 2016. This is echoed by a Cisco study which found 65% of U.S. shoppers research products online before making a purchase in a store.
Clearly the top brick and mortar retailers are bridging the gap between ecommerce and in-store shopping by adopting a bricks-and-clicks strategy which delivers the best of both worlds to consumers. However, many small and midsize retailers struggle with the opportunity to use mobile commerce in a way that puts a retail outlet in every consumer’s pocket or purse and further leverages m-commerce to achieve m-profits.
To spur some ideas and hopefully some actionable follow-through, I’ll use this blog post to share some mobile retail research, best practices and my own experiences in aiding clients with some big m-commerce projects which include clienteling, mobile marketing (including QR codes, SMS marketing, location-based marketing, mobile advertising and beacon technologies), SoLoMo, retail mobile apps and mobile POS.
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