June 30, 2011, 12:00 AM

Mobile Commerce

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"But it can be very successful," Strother adds."The open rate for text alerts is extremely high; if you can get enough phone numbers and set them up on text alerts, it can be very effective, but you need to send a limited number out and ensure they are relevant."

Also worth considering is a mobile technology that has started to gain traction in the last year: two-dimensional bar codes, such as Quick Response, or QR codes. 2-D bar codes can contain much more information than the conventional one-dimensional bar code used on consumer packaged goods. A smartphone user with a 2-D reader app hovers his smartphone over the 2-D code and the reader scans it; the app reads the code and automatically links him to mobile web-based content.

The Catholic Company is pioneering QR codes by including them in its July catalog. Scanning the code with the St. Roch statue will send shoppers to a mobile video of the artisan handcrafting the statues plus more information on the patron saint of animals.

"Our goal is to raise awareness of and drive more traffic to the mobile site," Cole says. "The video is hosted on the mobile site, and on that video page there is a link to the product page. The site search box is also on the video page, and shoppers will be able to navigate from that video page throughout the site."

M-commerce offers many tools to reach the ever-growing number of mobile shoppers. Merchants must consider diving in with an m-commerce site, then examine other avenues that may lead to greater engagement with their brands and more sales.


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