June 26, 2009, 12:00 AM

You can’t jam an e-commerce site into an m-commerce site

A mobile commerce technology expert told IRCE M-commerce Workshop attendees to avoid that trap, and that mobile sites should enable a quick and easy way for customers to navigate, browse, shop and buy.

Put simply, a retailer should not try to jam an e-commerce site onto an m-commerce site. That was the message delivered by Tim Sherwin, vice president of mobile services at CardinalCommerce Corp., at the M-commerce Workshop last week at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition.

“It’s not an e-commerce site,” he said. “So the question is, how do you leverage the intimate nature of the mobile phone to improve the overall customer experience, not simply to buy from the mobile phone but also to drive sales in-store and on the e-commerce site?”

Mobile consumers want to access product information, comparison shop, locate stores and make purchases immediately; consequently, mobile sites should enable an easy way for customers to navigate, browse, shop and buy, Sherwin advised.

“Retailers can create a basic mobile presence that manages a product feed, renders sites dynamically, includes payment processing and integrates with a fulfillment system,” he added.

One way to decide what to include on a mobile site is to “skinny down” the e-commerce site, Sherwin said.

“When you have a wonderful large site, you can’t do it all on a mobile site; the mobile environment is about an impulse purchase. So break it down into simple categories to find products quickly, then to a checkout process that is simple and fast,” he said.

Using the example of a pro basketball star, he says, “I can be on a sports mobile shop and searching for Joe Johnson and the shop could dynamically render a banner with Atlanta Hawks merchandise because of the obvious connection. Clicking on that banner then directs me to a subset of their site with just those products. I click on one, select PayPal, sign in and it’s done.”

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