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With more than a billion active smartphone users, mobile commerce is continuing to aggressively expand. Given the ubiquity of mobile devices, it is crucial for businesses to increase and optimize their mobile presence to increase both traffic and conversion rates.

We can separate mobile commerce into two types. One is the purchasing of items in real life using a mobile app, such as paying for coffee with the Starbucks iPhone App. The other, more prevalent form is using a mobile device to purchase something over the Internet, whether it is from Amazon, eBay or any online storefront.

What do businesses need to know about mobile commerce?

Companies need a proper foundation for m-commerce.

Many businesses still need to adjust to maximize potential m-commerce. Only 35% of websites are mobile-optimized, and most don’t have a mobile app. However, the effort is worth the return – in a recent Google case study, Mark Abraham, senior online marketing manager at, noted, “Even now, we understand that small improvements in mobile conversions can make a huge difference to the business.”

The most successful applications are those that customers can use for more than just shopping. Apps are a great way to build brand awareness, entertain, and lead to shopping. If a customer wants to shop, they will use the mobile browser – an app can be much more than an online cart.

Priceline app for mobile commerce

Even in the store, consumers are using their mobile devices.

The latest generation of consumers is independent and prefers researching on their own. Even as far back as 2010, 73% of shoppers with smartphones said they would rather reference their mobile device while in-store instead of asking a sales associate for help. Therefore, companies need to have a mobile solution that provides full product information, current available inventory, and crowd-sourced reviews. Further, if the desired item is unavailable, there should be a mechanism that suggests alternatives as well as recommends complementary products and other offerings.

This is a global phenomenon and here to stay.

In 2014, China is expected to have $27.1 billion in on-the-go sales, even more than the estimated figure for US mobile shoppers. Tablets now are almost as effective as PCs for converting users into customers. More consumers than ever are completing the entire sales cycle (discovery, selection, validation, and purchase) directly from their mobile device.

“Most people first experience auto brands online now,” says Kim McCullough, Land Rover North America’s Brand Vice President. “Showroom visits are down. People are making up their minds about brands in other ways, whether through friends or experiences online. By the time people get to a showroom, they already know what they want.”

Taking steps to optimize your mobile site, create an engaging mobile app, and focus on mobile advertising can strongly impact how customers view your brand and products, as mobile now accounts for 12% of Americans’ media consumption time. Whether your mobile app makes browsing your products easier, builds brand awareness or simply entertains, developing your presence in mobile commerce is a step in the right direction.

Tags: mobile commerce, mobile commerce trends, what is mobile commerce, e commerce companies, mcommerce, e-commerce marketing, ecommerce development, mobile commerce apps