Vendors that specialize in mobile commerce technology dominated the landscape in the early days of m-commerce. Players like Digby, Unbound Commerce and Usablenet Inc. were the pioneers that trailblazing retailers turned to when going mobile. This was the case for a few years until e-commerce platform vendors realized that m-commerce was not a passing fad and that the burgeoning market offered them a new opportunity. Then the e-commerce vendors like Demandware Inc. and MarketLive Inc. began building m-commerce into their e-commerce packages.
MWRC Internet Sales LLC is the latest e-commerce platform technology provider to go mobile. However, it’s doing so by partnering with an m-commerce vendor, mShopper. It opted to partner rather than build because it did not have the time or resources or all the skills in-house necessary to create an m-commerce extension of its e-commerce platform, says Jeff Miller, vice president of sales and marketing at MWRC.
“When we first went down the RFP process two years ago the costs were too high. We wanted to offer our clients an m-commerce store without them having to pay an arm and a leg,” Miller explains. “We needed it to work easily from the technical perspective with our system that we built while being able to make a good return on investment for us and our clients. After exploring a few roads with other vendors we decided on mShopper, which met our criteria.”
MWRC positions its m-commerce site offering as a bargain, comparing it to other mobile site technologies, namely from m-commerce niche vendors, that it says can cost $20,000 to $100,000, Miller says. MWRC and mShopper charge MWRC clients a one-time $500 set-up fee and take a small percentage cut of each mobile transaction, which they decline to reveal. They also charge a monthly fee ranging from $99 to $999 based on e-commerce site traffic.
MWRC is today launching its first m-commerce site. The site is for its e-commerce client GargoylesEyewear.com, a brand of Foster Grant. It says it will launch six more clients into m-commerce next week and the remainder of its 40 clients by the holidays.
“Part of what we tell clients is you either do it now, or you do it in five years and wish you would have done it now. All the numbers are pointing in the mobile direction,” Miller says. “When you see Amazon redesigning their main site with mobile in mind, it should raise your eyebrows.”