September 30, 2011, 2:05 PM

Publisher's Letter: If it's October, it's time for mobile

If it's October, it's time for mobile.

Lead Photo

Jack Love, Publisher, Internet Retailer

At Internet Retailer, October is Mobile Commerce month. This month, we focus on the next revolution in electronic commerce by introducing four information products dedicated to reporting on mobile commerce.

The first is the magazine you are reading, whose cover story contains an in-depth report on competition in the mobile commerce market. We are pleased to have on our cover Sam Hall, director of Amazon's mobile commerce program, which, not surprisingly, already dominates this burgeoning new market.

Our reporting on mobile commerce has been well ahead of the implementation curve. Our first cover story on the subject dates back to December 2000 when we concluded that this was a fabulous idea that lacked only one thing—a web-based cell phone—to make it real. Since that phone appeared four-and-a-half years ago in the form of Apple's iPhone, we have had mobile commerce on our cover a number of times. In this month's cover article we report that mobile commerce is not only real, it's exploding. This year, the Top 300 mobile merchants, ticket sellers and travel companies will generate nearly $6 billion of revenue from mobile commerce sites, one-third of that from Amazon. The message to e-retailers everywhere is simple: Now is the time to launch a mobile commerce operation—or risk losing market share in the overall e-commerce business.

This month we also launch a brand new mobile commerce research guide. Last October, we introduced the Mobile Commerce Data Book, which profiled the 322 most important mobile commerce sites. It was an instant success and told us in no uncertain terms that mobile commerce had arrived as a viable e-commerce market. Now we introduce the second edition of that book, which we have renamed the Mobile Commerce Top 300, because for the first time we rank the 300 largest m-commerce operations in the U.S. based on their estimated 2011 sales on smartphones and tablet computers. The 224-page Mobile Commerce Top 300 contains more than 30 financial and operating facts about the top mobile commerce operators and lists contact information for more than 400 mobile commerce executives.

The new Mobile Commerce Top 300 sells for $69 plus shipping. But if you attend our second annual Mobile Commerce Forum, which will be held at the new Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston on Oct. 10-12, the new guide is yours free, provided you sign up for at least one full day of conference sessions. MCF is the nation's largest mobile commerce conference featuring presentations by 50 mobile commerce experts who have been hand-picked by our editorial team based solely on each speaker's knowledge of the assigned topic. Among other things, the sessions at MCF 2011 will examine what's driving the growth in mobile commerce, who the leaders are and what are the secrets to their success. We'll also identify the key demographics of mobile shoppers and discuss what types of merchandise are best suited for mobile platforms. And most important, MCF 2011 speakers will show e-retailers how to build mobile web sites without a huge investment, how to market them and determine what merchandise to feature on them, and whether to focus on building a mobile web site or mobile app, or both.

Internet Retailer will itself be following the advice of our expert speakers at MCF 2011 by launching its own mobile site just before the show. More than 10% of visitors to access the site from a mobile phone, and we no longer wish to frustrate them by serving up content that can't be read on a mobile device. We encourage e-retailers to follow our lead.

Jack Love, Publisher

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