Mobile Commerce Part II - customized product recommendations
In the first part of this article Hendrik Lennarz, e-commerce technology expert a Trusted Shops gave an overview of the current situation in the mobile e-commerce sector. In the following second part he presents some examples of businesses that have successfully integrated mobile commerce into their shops and gives an outlook of what the future will look like for e-retailers.
Find out more about this subject in the following post.
Part one of this article gave an overview of the status quo in mobile commerce. Lets get into detail and have a look at some companies that have successfully integrated mobile commerce into their platforms.
Examples for todays mobile shopping platforms
Some companies already offer mobile shopping versions of their websites that were optimized so they can be displayed and used with the most common mobile phones. Popular platforms like amazon.com, otto.de and billiger.de use simplified versions of their websites that don't contain long texts, graphics and unnecessary features.
Especially price comparison sites that offer this kind of service for mobile devices can be very useful for online shoppers as they allow comparing the prices of a high street store and of hundreds of online-shop right on the spot. The shop-system Magento has already implemented such templates and the others will hopefully follow soon with their solutions. In addition to the mobile websites that work on the mobile browsers the renowned smartphone producers have started making available platforms for the development of own applications that work as independent programs. Amazon for example has developed an application lately that is available in Apple's Appstore as well as in the Blackberry Application centre. The application provides the customers with full access to their personal choice of products and also offers a unique 1-click check-out-process that will be hard to beat. A special feature of the application is the camera of the mobile device into the shopping process.
Think of a scenario like this:
"You take a photo of the shoes of the person sitting next to you in the subway upload it into amazon's application which will then display an offer for exactly that pair or a comparable of pair of sneakers. I think this example shows the potential of mobile commerce.
Advantages of native applications
The special requirements of mobile shopping that I've mentioned above currently means that mobile internet is used mainly for communication- and information purposes. The moment all the technical problems are solved and a one-click shopping experience is possible there will be a considerable growth in mobile commerce. Native applications of different providers especially the Android-developer-community will hopefully improve mobile online-shopping in the near future.
A good example in this context is Apple's appstore, a native application on the iPhone which enables customers to buy, download and automatically install programs with just a few clicks. The payment process is easy but you have to be a registered iTunes user. Another new feature will be the integration of a shopping function into the new 3.0 iPhone software which allows developers and users to sell their products directly. This new function could become interesting for other platforms and online-shops. But this could also be a good chance for suppliers of shopsoftware that could provide their cusomers with a mobile version of their software through this channel.
The future of mobile shopping
The use of mobile commerce highly depends on the industry sector. Especially in mobile ticketing mobile commerce seems to be working quite well already. There are numerous solutions available that allow ordering train-tickets or the reservation of hotel rooms with a mobile device.
If you take a look at the shopping experience for daily goods you'll find some successfully implementeed functions . Another example from the Appstore shows that there are already a lot of shopping list applications. Here the user can create shopping lists and the program will find the closest store with the best price for the chosen products.
The well known product recommendation function works well for mobile commerce, too. Think of the following scenario:
You enter your favourite clothes-store and the smart-phone recognizes the store and immediately shows the products that you've bought the last time. According to this choice it can now start showing similar products or special offers in this sector which are available in your size. So the smartphone could lead you trough the store constantly giving personalized recommendations. If it is a barcode scanner, products-upload or a RFID connector, there will be various possibilities how offline products can be transferred to the online world to use the endless functions offered here and to increase the offline shopping experience. The best successful example is mobile price comparison.