December 1, 2010, 12:00 AM

10 retailers show what can be done with mobile

10 groundbreaking retailers show what’s possible in the rapidly emerging arena of mobile commerce.

Lead Photo

Mobile commerce exploded in 2010, with hundreds of new m-commerce sites and a variety of new mobile apps hitting the scene. Many sites are very limited in their approach; others offer fine-tuned design and navigation for the small screen. And while some apps give a shopper the basics, others offer robust, graphical experiences that excite the consumer. This year, 10 retailers offer shining examples of what can be done in the fast-growing and ever-changing field of m-commerce.

Walgreen Co., for example, is all about convenience, and it takes convenience to the extreme in its mobile offerings. Late this year it launched an Android version of its mobile app that allows consumers to scan the bar code on a prescription bottle using a smartphone’s camera and instantly order a refill. And when that prescription is ready for pickup, customers who opt in can receive a text message alert.

Other retailers with mobile offerings showcase exceptional apps that offer a visual feast and a simple shopping experience. Tommy Hilfiger USA Inc.’s app opens with a full-screen image of models in the brand’s apparel, which fades to a visually rich home page unlike most other apps. It’s dominated by a large, attractive hero shot. Below is a sliding deck of five images used for navigation; this in contrast to oft-used text navigation.

ShopNBC.com’s site and app boast enormous images—and alternate images—for the small screen, along with product pages that are heavy on the details yet clean in design. Overall the experience mirrors that of its e-commerce site, bringing the depth and breadth of the Internet to m-commerce.

Apple Inc.’s App Store connects iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users to the marketplace that now hosts more than 300,000 of the tiny programs. The retailer knows its customers expect richness, and it offers a highly graphical and fast user experience. Product details, for example, are extensive and highlight screen shots of apps that give users a clear picture of what’s in store.

But it’s not just behemoths like Apple that show what can be done in mobile commerce. The Catholic Co. demonstrates with a smartly designed m-commerce site that it can stand side by side with the sites of many of its peers, big or small. One of the reasons it has made the top 10 is because it not only produced a site that is clean in design and easy to navigate, but did so, unlike most other players in mobile commerce, in-house. Small retailers can look to Catholic Company as an example of what can be done without a big budget and without the aid of any of the numerous m-commerce technology providers.

The top 10 also includes 1-800-Flowers.com Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Barnes & Noble Inc., eBay Inc. and Polo Ralph Lauren. All 10 retailers are pioneers in letting consumers shop easily, quickly and colorfully anytime, anywhere.

bill@verticalwebmedia.com

To purchase the Internet Retailer Hot 100 December 2010 Issue - Click Here

To view the Mobile Retailers nominated for December 2010 - Click Here

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