I read this in the Dallas Morning News online version today, "Last year, more than 60 million Americans were mobile Web users, up 33 percent from 2008, according to Nielsen. This holiday season, Nielsen predicts one-third of all mobile phones in use will be smartphones, up from 21 percent a year ago.
The holiday season is mentioned for a reason. This year people are buying differently than before. Smartphone users are not waiting until they get home to the old desktop to browse the internet and buy. Not anymore. They expect their smartphones to support all of the websites and all of the powerful features that many shopping sites have, and they want it all on the smartphone.
Here is more from the Dallas Morning News, "They want mobile applications to mimic the best of their favorite store websites and to deliver strangers' quality ratings that they've come to rely on for advice in buying everything from a set of sheets to a hotel room."
The last point is particularly interesting. Smartphone users, and social media enthusiasts, don't want to make any significant purchases without reading others' opinions on it. My wife often reads others' thoughts and reviews of books before she purchases them. I always look online for ratings and opinions on things I want to buy. What does this mean to the retailer? It means no secrets. It means the retailer must be reading and watching comments online for trends.
It doesn't take long for one good or bad experience that makes an interesting story to be read by millions today. It is critical that retailers have a strategy for representing themselves and their products online, on mobile devices and on social media sites.
For more good information on mobile retailing I suggest the Empower Blog and the Mobile Retailing News Weekly newsletter.
Kevin Benedict, SAP Mentor, SAP Top Contributor, Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst
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Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant, mobility analyst, writer and Web 2.0 marketing professional. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.