January 14, 2011, 4:36 PM

Simple is the name of the game in mobile commerce

An m-commerce analyst provides tips on creating a mobile experience that leads to success.

Lead Photo

Target focuses on simplicity by sending consumers from a text message straight to a relevant m-commerce site product page.

Most retailers and mobile commerce experts agree that in the mobile world things need to be kept simple. A smartphone is not a desktop PC, after all. It doesn’t have a 20-inch monitor and a big keyboard with a mouse. Plus, consumers shopping on a web site typically do so at a leisurely pace, whereas mobile shoppers are on the go and looking to achieve something quickly.

In mobile commerce, simplicity is a virtue, says Julie A. Ask, vice president and principal analyst who specializes in m-commerce at Forrester Research Inc.

“You have to keep the end goal of the shopper in mind,” Ask says. “Target’s ‘endless aisle’ is a perfect example. It features signs directing shoppers to send a text to a short code and the reply text sends them directly to a web page connecting them with more products from that style or brand, locations where those products are in stock, and more. And it allows people to scan bar codes, which is far more simple than typing.”

Ask adds that some banks have had the right idea when it comes to offering easy-to-use mobile services such as checking available account balance in just a couple swipes and depositing a paper check by simply taking a picture of it via a smartphone.

Ask will address what is needed to make a quick and simple mobile commerce experience in a session entitled “Immediacy: The Key to Mobile” on Jan. 26 at IQPC’s Mobile Commerce 2011 conference in San Francisco.

Focusing on what users want to do is the key to a simple experience, including easy m-commerce site and app navigation, Ask says.

“In terms of navigation it has to be very touchscreen-friendly and simple,” she says. “In order to simplify, you need to think of the consumer use-cases. What does a consumer want to accomplish via mobile when they are in your store? What do they want to do in a competitor’s store? What do they want to do when they’re just buying a shirt? It took me 15 minutes on my smartphone to buy a shirt from one store that did not have a mobile-optimized site. Target, on the other hand, connects you to the right page right away because they have made some assumptions about the use-case scenario, keeping things simple.”

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