July 31, 2007, 12:00 AM

IRCE 2007: Report from the Conference

(Page 4 of 4)

Though mobile commerce as a sales channel still is nascent, retailers should be considering how best to position their business in m-commerce today, said Levi Shapiro, director at Telephia Inc., at IRCE 2007. "Text messaging is here now. About 64% of mobile subscribers are texting today. And in the first quarter of this year, 74 million mobile subscribers accessed the Internet via their mobile devices," Shapiro said. "These represent enormous opportunities that e-retailers can use today to at minimum promote their brands. Using anything that people already are comfortable with, like SMS text messaging, can heighten brand awareness."

This is precisely what American Greetings Interactive has been doing for some time. The greeting cards giant saw mobile commerce as a way of breaking down barriers for male customers who wait to the last minute for special occasions and "fear getting in trouble," said Jason Jhonson, vice president of product.

"We supply a list of dates and reminders for customers--triggers, whether via the web or mobile devices--and then a quick and easy way for them to get what they need," Jhonson explained.

For retailers skeptical of m-commerce because of smaller screen size, Jhonson advised, "What you lose in form factor you gain in immediacy."

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