The primary issue with mCommerce is that retailers and app developers are attempting to simply or recreate existing websites at 10 percent of their original size. However, the difference in the fundamental nature of full-sized computers from that of smartphones makes this approach less than ideal. Computers are designed around the functions of reading and writing text on the screen, which lend themselves to the “search/browse/checkout” design of most eCommerce websites today. Mobile phones, with their small screens and smaller keyboards, are the polar opposite. The unique advantages of smart phones are their cameras, gps features, touch screens, and (obviously) their phones. Mobile commerce will begin to develop at a much faster pace once these advantages are incorporated into the experience.
Citing “merchant resistance” to near field communication technology, VeriFone CEO Douglas Bergeron hinted in February that NFC would be standard issue on every new POS terminal the company produces. This action alone would ensure that there were enough NFC-enabled terminals — somewhere in the 25-30 percent range — to bring eWallets into the mainstream.
Next, mobile experiences for product discovery will evolve to suit their unique interfaces — think collages over catalogs. A desktop equivalent that comes to mind can be found at Converse. While still a Web experience, the site utilizes a color wheel to playfully filter content without a keyboard. A mobile experience that favors this approach can be found in the iPad application HBO GO. HBO GO leverages the touch nature of the phone to slide video and image representations of available movies and series into view. Not surprisingly, both examples heavily leverage imagery over text.
Once these two eventualities play out, mobile devices will become first-tier digital channels in their own right — and the conversion rates and revenue associated with those channels will follow.
It deserves mention that these opinions were published on ecommercetimes.com, an online newspaper focused on the issues and events of the online business world. This begs the question of how those with a decidedly more POS perspective would view the future of mCommerce, especially in terms of the potential of mobile phones to bridge the gap between eCommerce and the point of sale.