July 22, 2010, 12:00 PM

‘Congratulations, your iPhone is here’

Where do you begin in m-commerce? With the iPhone.

Lead Photo

I’d been waiting two weeks, and yesterday an e-mail popped in my inbox with that wonderful line. And now I’ve got it in the palm of my hands, my iPhone 4. I’m waiting a couple hours for a pal with an iPhone 4 on the West Coast to wake up so I can do my first-ever video call. I’ve been waiting to do that since I was a kid watching “Star Trek” and “The Jetsons.” It’s finally the Space Age!

Count on this: There are millions more like me, iPhone loyalists who are drooling over the new features and functions and would never consider another smartphone. Apple sold 3 million units of the iPhone 4 in the first 23 days—in revenue terms the biggest consumer electronics product introduction ever—and there are countless consumers on Apple’s long waiting list as it cannot keep up with the demand for the new device.

One thing you as a retailer need to know is that iPhone owners make greater use of the mobile web and apps than any other mobile phone users. And today I reported on a new study that reveals a fascinating and extremely important statistic: iPhone owners are nearly three times more likely than smartphone owners overall to shop via their device and more than five times more likely than mobile phone owners overall, according to Yankee Group Research Inc.

Why is this important? Because when jumping into m-commerce you have to pick a place to start, and clearly that place to start is the iPhone. When optimizing your e-commerce site into a mobile version, make sure it’s first and foremost ready to be well-rendered on an iPhone. And if you’re considering building a mobile app, you build for the iPhone first. (Then probably Android, if the current trends among smartphone sales and app development hold, which is likely.)

Mind you, when building a mobile commerce site, you want to optimize for as many phones as possible, all the various stripes of smartphones (especially) and conventional phones (not as important). And there are vendors out there with massive databases of phone specs that work with their m-commerce platforms to automatically optimize for virtually any mobile phone.

But when it comes to smartphones, remember, the iPhone is king. There may be phones out there with greater features or functions, but none of them boast a user base with such zeal and loyalty—the kinds of users retailers most need to target.

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