Mobile devices today are always on and always on hand, so how does an organization get attention on its customers' smart phones? Gartner research vice president Gene Alvarez asked and answered that question during his presentation on e-commerce in a wireless world during the recent Gartner CRM Summit.
According to Alvarez, by 2012, 30 percent of smart phone users will browse the Web to shop, resulting in 3 percent of the smart phone population conducting e-commerce transactions using their phones. This doesn't mean downloading ringtones. Alvarez is referring to products purchased using a mobile device that previously would have been purchased using a personal computer. He also noted that there will be significant growth in mobile "pre-tailing," or researching and evaluating products online using a mobile device before purchasing through another channel.
In preparation for this evolution toward mobile commerce, Alvarez recommended keeping the following in mind:
- Customers want to choose how your organization interactions with them and informs them about products, promotions, and the like.
- A company's mobile e-commerce capabilities should not be isolated from other mobile phone capabilities, like SMS, nor should they be isolated from other interaction points.
- Mobile users will want content that is in context with what they're doing.
- Maintaining context is paramount, but enterprises need to consider industry regulations.
- Companies have the potential to see significant results by capitalizing on GPS location-based services.
Alvarez reminded attendees that location-based capabilities will be provide great opportunity in the future, noting that the total number of subscriptions for location-based services is predicted to exceed 298 million by year end 2011. Additionally, by next year the worldwide installed base of Web-capable phones will exceed that of PCs.
Ultimately, he said, companies that haven't started planning for mobile e-commerce should start now--especially if their customers are already pre-tailing using their smart phones.