Mobile commerce, also known as m-commerce, is evolving – and small businesses must evolve with it.
A 2010 survey by Internet Retailer of 149 chain sellers, chain retailers, web-only merchants, catalog companies and consumer brand manufacturers found only 8.8 percent of these companies operated an m-commerce site.
However, the same survey suggested 75.9 percent of these retailers already had plans to launch a mobile site with 31.9 percent expecting to be selling through mobile devices in the next six months.
Flash forward to 2012 when eMarketer estimated an increase of mobile sales by 81 percent to a total of $25 billion in revenue that year. Another 55.7 percent increase in mobile sales is expected this year, with mobile sales representing about 15 percent of total retail e-commerce in the U.S. by the end of 2013.
The increasing commitment to mobile retail and resulting rise in sales is no surprise. In his book M-Commerce, author Paul Skeldon estimates that more than 70 percent of the world’s population now own mobile phones, and 74 percent of those owners have made purchases as a result of using a smartphone while shopping. Based on current trends, mobile global commerce sales will have reached $120 billion by 2015, estimates Skeldon.
Small businesses need to develop mobile commerce presences of their own, if they haven’t done so already, to take advantage of the evolving market.
To do so, smaller companies have the choice to either invest in custom mobile commerce development or to purchase a ready-made solution that will give them a mobile presence with their current site’s options and features.
Companies like Zuznow, founded by husband and wife team Chen and Racheli Levkovich, say they offer small businesses the option to automatically render a traditional website in mobile form with no need for additional programming.
The company’s website describes Zuznow as a “one-click mobilization.”
Zuznow boasts 100 paying customers who use the service to create mobile-friendly versions of their websites while preserving the look and feel of their original sites.
Zuznow’s solution aims to supports advanced features, such as user authentication, shopping carts, optimized purchase forms and PCI compliance. No software installation is needed. Customers can incorporate Zuznow’s technology with just a few lines of code. Mobile optimization is then maintained 24/7, and updates are automatically integrated into the mobile version of the site.
The Zuznow team says the solution captures a website in its entirety and is capable of translating it for all available mobile platforms. Mobile device users visiting Zuznow-supported sites are automatically directed to the Zuznow proxy, which detects the device in use and converts the site to the appropriate mobile version for that device. The automatic adaptation service now specializes in complex business sites, especially e-commerce.
The service is delivered at a cost of $100 per month. The company continues to add conversion features for additional platforms like iPad and plans to incorporate optimization for smart televisions in the near future.
With a majority of customers currently in Israel and Germany, the company is working on partnerships to provide services in the rest of Europe and the United States.
Whether they use a service like Zuznow or work with a developer to create a custom option, small business retailers must consider how to provide mobile versions of their sites to take advantage of today’s burgeoning m-commerce market.
M-Commerce Photo via Shutterstock