August 24, 2011

Are you optimised?

Selling through mobile commerce is the next step for online businesses and for many it is the final piece of the jigsaw in becoming a true cross-channel retailer. This month saw retailer Sainsbury’s debut their new mobile shopping site and in doing so provide consumers access to over 15,000 products for purchase via a new sales channel.

The mobile version of the website allows users to reserve items from their phones and then collect in store and is a major development in the brand’s business approach; one which will undoubtedly reflect positively on their profit margins.

Sainsbury’s has caught on to a mobile-savvy UK market which is currently leading the way with its mobile purchasing. Consumer engagement in mobile has expanded globally according to data from the Global Consumer Survey from MEF (July 2011). The survey shows that the UK in particular is embracing m-commerce. As many as 91 percent of UK respondents have used their mobile device to either research or purchase a product, in comparison to 38 percent in North America.

These figures could easily increase if security concerns were addressed, as 26 percent of consumers cited a lack of trust as the reason for not making more purchases on their mobile. Despite all this though, 79 percent of UK websites are not optimised for mobile and this is such a missed opportunity for so many retailers, despite an otherwise strong digital strategy.

In this fast moving, highly competitive retail environment we really don’t think it is enough for retailers to have just an ecommerce strategy, m-commerce must be considered in the creation of an optimised mobile commerce website or native mobile application. Put simply, UK retailers need to provide the market with what it is clearly indicating it wants – a way to buy through smartphones.

And the indication is that they are planning to improve their m-commerce operation. The latest annual IT in Retail report by Martec International states that UK retailers plan to spend almost a quarter of IT budgets on implementing and improving ecommerce and mobile commerce platforms.

If you’re looking into m-commerce at the moment, it would be worth checking out a previous article of ours looking at ‘Designing for the future‘. In it we look at the affect HTML5 and CSS3 are having on the work we produce for clients, in particular when considered against website availability on mobile platforms. Alternatively you can always give one of our experts a call…