September 1, 2012, 12:00 AM

The mobile age begins

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Ross says purposefully waited to see how other flash-sale retailers' apps worked or didn't work before developing its own. "We were kind of late, but we looked to see what other people have done and the mistakes they made so we invested in the right areas," Ross says. continues to improve its app, speeding response and page load times, and providing larger product images. It's also added personalization capabilities so the app can recommend products that match each shopper's style preferences.

The ubiquitous iPad

While many organizations have built smartphone apps, fewer have taken on tablets. Those that have focus on the iPad, which generates sales at a far higher rate than other tablets.

Consumers using an iPad app want more than just what's available on the retailer's web site: They want to be wowed, says Cam Fortin, director of business development at Fortin will speak about the topic in a session titled "The Wow Factor: Fun Things Marketers Have Done With an iPad."'s iPad app enables consumers to shop for wine by flipping through labels, swiping from left to right to view available wines. That's an example of how the iPad can change the online shopping experience, Fortin says.

"The iPad is a revolutionary device, and it's opening up new ways for marketers to interact with their customers," he says. "We are just beginning to see how native applications factor in to our overall customer contact strategy. The iPad is a great testing ground for fun new features that engage customers in a brand new way."

A plethora of topics

Many other topics will be addressed at the Mobile Marketing & Commerce Forum, as the agenda on the following pages shows. Julie A. Ask of Forrester Research Inc. will discuss how store retailers can combat showrooming, the consumer practice of using smartphones in stores to compare prices and buying elsewhere. Sam Shank of HotelTonight will explain what it's like to build and market a mobile-only business. Mobile chiefs Brandon McGee of Dell and Perry Cooper of Rue La La will show the best ways to draft a mobile commerce roadmap.

Mobile marketing and mobile commerce are becoming key components of a well-rounded Internet selling plan. Smartphone and tablet users are flocking to retail, travel and ticket sites, and they have mobile expectations that must be met if an organization wants to succeed. The Mobile Marketing & Commerce Forum is the place where executives of all stripes can learn how to meet these expectations and excel in this fast-growing arena.


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