Couch commerce and the convenience factor


Date: 23 August 2012

Yellow sofa{{}}

Do you use your mobile when you're on the couch? (Image: the dailyenglishshow on Flickr.)

Mobile commerce is becoming big business. Recent research suggests that by 2017, the total value of mobile transactions will exceed $730bn. That's about £465bn - or enough to pay for the Olympics around 50 times over.

Unless you've been walking around with your eyes shut lately, that probably doesn't come as much of a surprise. Mobile internet access has gone through the roof, with people using their smart phones everywhere. And where potential customers go, companies tend to follow.

The convenience factor

There's a big convenience factor at work here. Done well, mobile commerce can be seductively straightforward. Take online commerce trailblazers Amazon. Finished your book but still have two hours of a train journey to get through? Just buy another book to read on your Kindle, there and then.

Businesses of all sorts are tapping into that convenience factor - not least the supermarket giants. Tesco is trailing a rather-contrived 'virtual supermarket' at Gatwick Airport, where you can use your smart phone to scan items on a screen for delivery when you get back from your holidays. And Sainsbury's reckons its new mobile optimised website has helped increase its online sales by 20%.

Sure, what's right for the supermarkets isn't always right for smaller companies. But in this case, if you're thinking it's probably is time for you to shape up your mobile commerce experience, you're probably right.

Dont forget couch commerce

Even if your business doesn't sell online, you need to be mindful that a growing proportion of your website visitors will be using mobile devices. Do you want to exclude them from learning about your company?

Before you get started, there's one other thing to bear in mind: it doesn't always follow that mobile internet users are out and about.

Actually, a significant proportion of people use mobile internet when they're at home, because it's usually easier to reach for a smart phone than start up a PC.

Dubbed 'couch commerce', this phenomenon means that the typical image of a mobile internet user as someone with only a few moments to spare at a bus stop or on a train could be inaccurate. And that might influence the information you show them.

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