August 31, 2011, 9:28 AM

A timely gathering

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Besides shopping on their phones, many consumers use the devices to read e-mails; one study estimates 20% of marketing e-mail is opened on a phone, which means retailers must design their e-mails so they will look great on small mobile screens. "Attention spans are shorter, inboxes are fuller and the fingertip is the new mouse," says Eric Holmen, senior vice president of marketing at e-mail services provider Silverpop, who will speak on "Moving E-mail into the Mobile Era."

Text messaging is also a prime way to reach mobile shoppers, and Susan Blue, director of product strategy at FordDirect, will talk about the automaker's texting and other mobile initiatives in a featured presentation.

It's very early days for mobile, which means there's plenty to learn. "Many retailers have built the best horse and buggy they can to get to the front of the pack," says Dave Lawson, director of mobile engagement at digital marketing company Knotice.

He'll wrap up the three-day Mobile Commerce Forum with a fast-paced session evaluating attendees' mobile sites and apps, then send them off with lots of ideas that can help them stay ahead of the m-commerce pack.

don@verticalwebmedia.com

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