September 22, 2011, 4:24 PM

The first-ever ranking of mobile retailers

The new Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300 delves deep into the fast-growing market.

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Amazon.com Inc. has done it again. First it conquered U.S. e-commerce. Then it took Europe by storm. Now it has come out on top in mobile commerce: It sold $1 billion through its m-commerce site and mobile apps in 2010 and will sell $2 billion in 2011, according to the Mobile Commerce Top 300, a new guide from Internet Retailer. This places Amazon firmly in the No. 1 position, its nearest competitor more than $1 billion away.

“Amazon has always been aggressive in being there first,” says Nikki Baird, managing partner at Retail Systems Research LLC. “It was the pioneer in ratings and reviews, cross-sells and up-sells, product recommendations. Amazon has always been at the forefront of new capabilities in e-commerce and now they’re doing the same in m-commerce.”

The Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300 ranks retailers, travel companies and ticket sellers by projected 2011 m-commerce sales through mobile sites, smartphone apps and tablets. It is a first in e-retailing.

Listings for each merchant in the Mobile Commerce Top 300 include 2010 and 2011 mobile sales, conversion rate, average ticket, unique monthly visitors, performance metrics, mobile technology provider, optimization by mobile operating system, mobile commerce director and more. The guide includes overview feature articles on the industry as a whole as well as on the retail, travel and ticket markets. It offers numerous case studies on groundbreaking retailers, travel companies and ticket sellers. And it features articles written by experts in the mobile commerce field. Additionally, it showcases a wide variety of charts and graphs with the latest statistics on m-commerce.

After Amazon.com, Apple holds the No. 2 spot at a projected $933.8 million in 2011 m-commerce sales. Marriott International Inc. comes in third at $144 million, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. fourth at $127.7 million and InterContinental Hotels & Resorts fifth at $120 million.

Online giant eBay Inc. moves more merchandise than Amazon.com. Its gross merchandise value in 2010 was $2 billion; that figure will rise to $4 billion this year. But it is not included in the Mobile Commerce Top 300 because it is a marketplace, making money from sales of goods belonging to others. While it is projected to move $4 billion in goods this year via mobile, based on the typical cuts it makes from sales it will make $370 million, according to Internet Retailer estimates.

The 300 retailers, travel companies and ticket sellers together will rack up $5.37 billion in m-commerce sales in 2011, up 105% from $2.62 billion in 2010, according to the Mobile Commerce Top 300. With its predicted $2 billion in 2011 sales, Amazon.com has sewn up 37% of the market.

Amazon says the keys to its success are simplicity and speed.

“If you think about someone in a physical environment trying to buy something on their phone, typically they are multitasking with divided attention,” says Sam Hall, director of Amazon Mobile. “I might be in a line at Starbucks and distracted with the line or an e-mail I’m following. We need to make it really easy and fast for customers to find what they want, so we’ve focused a lot on minimizing input—bar code scanning, search suggestions, voice input—so customers can go from ‘I want that’ to ‘I bought that’ in under 30 seconds.”

Buy.com Inc., No. 19 in the Mobile Commerce Top 300, also says simplicity is a virtue in mobile commerce. For example, it not only features a site search box at the top of the screen, but also offers three buttons below the search box—Speak, Snap and Scan—that allow shoppers to search by speaking, snapping a photo of a product, or scanning a bar code.

“You could be at a restaurant drinking a bottle of wine and take a picture of the label and purchase it right there and then from our app,” says Neel Grover, president and CEO of Buy.com.

For Buy.com and Internet retailing as a whole, mobile commerce is taking off and becoming mainstream. It’s crucial, many mobile experts say, for merchants to at least have an m-commerce site in place today as more Americans switch to smartphones and move Internet browsing away from the PC on their desktop to the mobile device in their hand.

“Mobile commerce will become commonplace among consumers,” Grover says. “I expect it to be larger than PC purchases.”

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