September 13, 2010, 12:15 PM

A sick cat and hidden Disney secrets add up to m-commerce

Here’s a real-life example of the power of the smartphone.

Lead Photo

I’m never without my beloved iPhone 4. The myriad things it can do make me very happy: keeping my schedule up to date, reading The New York Times, reading a book in the Kindle app, maintaining ongoing text message conversations, playing Blackjack, keeping up to date on the latest Doctor Who news—the list goes on and on. And it includes something that I’ve done on numerous occasions now: buy merchandise via an m-commerce app.

I thought I’d share a couple minutes from my Saturday afternoon to show any naysayers out there the power of mobile commerce.

One of my cats, Marnie, became ill Saturday. While on the way to the vet, I got a call from a friend, who I told I’d call back later due to the animal emergency. The vet took Marnie in back to run some tests, and they said it would be at least 20 minutes. So I called my friend back, who invited me out to celebrate another friend’s birthday this Thursday. And I said I’d be delighted.

Now I had to get a gift out of the blue. My standard operating procedure for anything is to make a note in the calendar with a reminder. But then I thought, why not just take care of it now? So (set your timers now), I opened up the Amazon.com mobile app, typed “Disney” in the search box, the second item to come up in the search results was a book, “The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.” I touched that item, clicked the 1-click Buy button, and closed the app. That was all of about 60 seconds.

Shortly afterward, Marnie was back in my arms, along with some antibiotics, and I was on my way home. And I’ll have my friend’s gift in my hands tomorrow. This is the power of mobile commerce: to enable buying when it is most convenient for consumers.

And that’s just the web-only aspect of m-commerce. The in-store uses for mobile are great. Sites and apps are there to get additional product information, read customer reviews, find products that a merchant carries but can’t fit onto its limited store shelves, get coupons beamed to you when you walk in a store, compare prices to get the best deals, and more.

M-commerce is real, and you’d better get a site up and running today, especially with the holiday season just around the corner. And if you want to learn all about mobile, how to get started, and the best marketing and selling strategies, come to our Mobile Commerce Forum next month in Chicago. Click here for more information.

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