At least embrace the mobile web

Mobile commerce is ahead of its time, says a report by eMarketer published on September 4.

[…] mobile commerce is still in its infancy. Web-enabled mobile phone users are much more likely to employ their devices to get weather forecasts, read news, find movie times and bank online than to buy products. Consumers are willing to use their mobile phones to buy items such as pizza, movie tickets and travel reservations. And some have even used their devices to purchase consumer electronics, computers and apparel. But mobile phone users say they would make more purchases if the process were not so cumbersome, products were easier to find and their devices supported secure credit card transactions.

(The bold is my emphasis.)

oracle-mobileweb
Not only cumbersome but downright off-putting. You go to the website of almost any big-name company you can think of in the browser on your mobile device, and the experience is typically a joke, and not a funny one.

This screenshot shows what Oracle looks like on the (relatively large) screen of an iPhone. Imagine trying to interact with that to find information, let alone do any business..

If companies can’t even present their online presence in ways that are a pleasurable and compelling experience whatever your device, what expectation is there that m-commerce is anything they’ve even heard of let alone be thinking about?

Econsultancy has an interesting opinion on the picture in the US:

[…] Retailers cite cost, privacy concerns, security and PCI compliance as the top obstacles keeping them out of mobile commerce.

According to Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer senior analyst:

“A number of retailers and third-party developers have introduced mobile apps that give consumers powerful new shopping tools and added convenience. But most retailers are either standing on the sidelines or in the midst of planning their mobile commerce strategy.”

Consumers are still much more likely to surf the Internet and use apps than make purchases on their phones. But some of that has to do with what purchasing options are available to them. Because consumers are getting more comfortable with handing over their credit card info on their phones.

Okay, but at least make your presence online usable no what what device you use. That’d be a start.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. EvenFlowDave

    Nigel, you’re spot on about the lack of decent mobile versions. A company like oracle should really have that one nailed.

    I think econsultancy make a very good point about retailers not taking advantage of api’s at their disposal though.

    I was thinking about android, which I use, and how easy it is to purchase apps with google checkout, a payment option which would integrate very easily with any app and every android user will have. But that’s something I haven’t seen any retailer do yet (at least not that I can think of).

    Good mobile interface on your blog, by the way :)

  2. neville

    Maybe creating a mobile-friendly website really isn’t that easy for many (most?) companies. Maybe because many sites are so bloated with legacy or bespoke bells and whistles, it’s a massive undertaking.

    Could that be it? How else can I explain it? Surely it can’t be that it’s something they just haven’t thought about.

    Re the mobile interface for this blog, thanks. That’s a neat WordPress plugin developed by Alex King. http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-mobile-edition/

    Easy to implement so no excuse if you use WordPress.

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