July 14, 2010, 12:42 PM

Should e-commerce vendors bring m-commerce to the table?

Some merchants expect no less. They say it is the responsibility of an e-commerce vendor.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

By the end of the month, e-commerce technology provider Shopatron Inc. will flip a switch and through its software-as-a-service platform automatically launch m-commerce sites for 610 of its more than 800 clients. However, it first had to inform its clients of the new mobile functionality, as it is something the vendor has been working on since early this year, unbeknown to its clients. It was a surprise, free of charge, that the company says its clients are welcoming with open arms.

In fact, some retailers expect this kind of treatment from their e-commerce vendors.

“One of the reasons we entered into a relationship with Shopatron was for the company as a vendor partner to keep us at the forefront of e-commerce. We expect them as a partner to bring to the table things like mobile commerce,” says Keith Neely, vice president of customer support and information technology at sporting goods and apparel consumer brand manufacturer Mizuno USA, a client of Shopatron that’s going mobile. “People are really adopting and using smartphones. So it’s great to be able to take our e-commerce storefront and make it optimized for mobile without having to do a lot of new development.”

 Shopatron is in the final weeks of testing m-commerce site-building functionality that it is adding to its platform offering at no additional cost to its clients. When consumers using mobile devices running the Apple, Android, BlackBerry or WebOS (Palm) operating systems type in the standard URL of any of the 610 Shopatron client sites (the other more than 190 will follow by fall), they will be automatically redirected to a mobile-optimized version. The new functionality will also work on mobile devices equipped with the Opera Mini mobile web browser.

Like many other retail, travel and ticketing executives, Neely recognizes that many consumers want to access web sites from their mobile phones.

“Mobile commerce is very important to the future of e-commerce,” says Neely. “Consumers are just not willing to walk around with their laptops anymore, they’re doing a lot more than calling with the latest mobile devices. It is very important to have a streamlined storefront that allows you to take the percentage of people coming to your site through mobile devices and give them an experience that will make conversions happen more, and more quickly.”

Comments | 2 Responses

  • Agreed - it's imperative that as a vendor we continue to innovate and respond to the mobile commerce trend. We need to continually monitor market adoption and usage of devices and platforms as they are released, and introduce appropriate mobile applications/features as warranted. Satisfying consumer expectations for a cross-channel experience with mobile commerce at the core is no longer a nice-to-have, it's a must-have. Tucker ATG

  • Bill and Tucker have it spot-on. As a hosted solution Shopatron needs to be one step ahead of the trends so that when those advancements reach critical mass (like mCommerce seems to be right now) our clients can take immediate advantage of them. Our clients rely on us to be the visionaries, to divine what is coming in the market and what will be important to them. For example, we decided not to invest heavily in iPhone app technology for our clients as we don't believe it will have a justifiable return for their business (see: blog.shopatron.com/2010/07/the-future-of-mcommerce-is-here/ ). Instead we invested in mobile-optimized stores which we believe will have a much higher ROI. And when we stay ahead we end up with happy clients - as you see from Keith's comments above. Mark - Shopatron

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