Preparing Your Business for the M-Commerce Era

by Jeff Wiener on September 27, 2012

No longer simply communications platforms, the growth and development of mobile devices on ‘connect everywhere’ networks has created a new and very lucrative channel in the traditional ecommerce market. As it stands, this new mobile commerce (m-commerce) space is expected to grow exponentially over the next several years, accounting for an estimated US$31 billion in revenue by 2016, according to Forrester Research.

The reality of the situation for many businesses, however, is that this m-commerce space is treated like little more than a necessary annoyance, with companies unwilling or unable to dedicate the necessary resources to make their e-commerce websites effectively available on mobile platforms. This segmented approach, where m-commerce sites are generally run separately from a company’s flagship site, were satisfactory when only PCs and smartphones were in the mix, but with the addition of tablets companies are finding themselves spread thin.

So how can businesses effectively tap the growing m-commerce market without having to run a separate website for every mobile platform? Fortunately innovative solutions like responsive web design exist, giving your company one web solution that bridges all mobile segments.

The difficult reality for businesses looking to grow their m-commerce footprint is that they have had to approach it separately from their regular e-commerce business. With different screen dimensions and data capacities on PCs, smartphones, and tablets, businesses have been forced to “maintain three separate sites to reach all platforms. This meant three separate projects — and three separate sets of costs incurred — each time a site needed maintenance or updates.”

Such a response is not only inefficient, but it’s wholly reactive as well, meaning that when mobile platforms once again proliferate and expand (and believe me, they will) companies will once again be forced to expand their segmented approach once again.

But as Ecommerce Times writer Mike O’Connor helpfully explains, there are solutions available for businesses tired of this segmented strategy, particularly the adoption of responsive web design. As he explains, “For Internet merchants, [responsive design] means one e-commerce site can be accessed and used by customers on every type of device: computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. Responsive sites analyze the resolution constraints associated with every size and type of mobile device. They then make adjustments to presentation layers to offer the best display for the device in use.”

Simply put, a responsive website design allows ecommerce merchants to unify their m-commerce strategies, giving them one website that can be accessed by all platforms. Not only does such an approach offer a better solution for today, but it also protects companies against the impending growth of mobile devices as well, giving them a simple and straightforward method of adapting to a changing market.

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