For a lot of businesses – especially small businesses – the idea of mobile sales having an impact on their sales is constantly put on the backburner. There are more pressing matters of running the business that are front and center throughout the week. If you still haven’t been convinced that embracing the mobile commerce wave is for you, the latest data might convince you otherwise.
What’s the Latest in Mobile Sales?
Mobile commerce has been growing steadily for the past few years. Recent data has shown that it could be prepped for explosive growth. As more and more consumers adopt smartphones capable of browsing and making purchases online, the ease of mobile purchases has increased dramatically. This is finally catching up to retailers, and recent news about sales is very encouraging.
Moving forward, 2012 might be considered the year that mobile sales really started to take off. What really set off everyone’s radar was the initial data concerning holiday sales around Thanksgiving of the past year. According to Megan Rose Dickey at Business Insider, data from GSI and PayPal showed that “mobile payment volume around the world on Thanksgiving increased by 173% compared to last year.” Mobile sales would only continue to impress once data had been gathered for the entire year.
A post covering a recent report from eMarketer on Mobile Marketing Watch shows that “2012 was a banner year for mobile commerce.” Sales grew 81% in the US alone. These numbers include all mobile forms of payment, from smartphones and tablets.
What’s more, Lauren Indvik reported on Mashable on January 16th some impressive news about the future of mobile commerce. She writes, “over the next five years, mobile sales are expected to grow 33% annually to $31 billion, making up 9% of online sales in 2017.” That means mobile commerce (mcommerce) will make up almost 10% of all online sales in a few years. That’s a percentage one shouldn’t ignore.
Companies Benefiting from Mobile Sales
Let’s take a look at some of the companies benefiting from mobile sales in recent weeks. The movie industry has surprisingly embraced mobile commerce. Well, to be more specific, the movie ticketing industry. According to Bill Siwicki, mobile ticket sales are changing the way movie theaters sell tickets. He writes, “Fandango has been at the forefront of mobile ticketing, and business is booming.” Mobile sales for Fandango have increased “171% in 2012 over 2011 and accounted for more than 30%” of ticket sales.
Amazon, the powerhouse of online retail, has seen its business as a share of mobile commerce grow recently. Tricia Duryee reports for AllthingsD that “eight percent of Amazon’s sales are coming from mobile.” This means that mobile purchases are adding “$3 to $5 billion in annual sales” to Amazon’s coffers. The market is definitely out there.
Lastly, another online retailer has had stunning success in mobile sales: eBay. Danielle Kucera for Bloomberg recently covered eBay’s excellent fourth-quarter revenue and how its stock is the highest it has been in eight years. CEO John Donahoe “has been pushing to generate more revenue from consumers shopping on tablets and smartphones.” This has been working – with some effort on eBay and PayPal’s part the push has been generating lots of revenue. Mobile payment volume hit $13 billion for eBay and $14 billion for PayPal last year alone, well above their estimates.
Even QR Codes Can Help
Another company has seen a great deal of success in mobile from a slightly different angle – one that could work much easier for small businesses. QR Codes. I mentioned QR codes in a previous post for CEM covering Twitter and Print media, but the next story about Verizon really shows how powerful QR Codes can be.
Elizabeth A. wrote a post at the beginning of January covering “How QR Codes Helped Verizon’s Sales Increase 200%” on Instant.ly. I hadn’t come across this information before but it set off some light bulbs in my head. QR codes are a great way for small businesses to ease into mCommerce.
Verizon used QR codes to promote contests, customer sharing, and brand awareness. They did it rather effectively too. Revenues increased, social media interaction on Facebook went up (by 25,000 users!). It was an experiment by Verizon, and it looks like it worked out well for them. A little creativity and persistence and I can see QR codes helping smaller businesses out in a great way.
The Future of mCommerce
Mobile commerce is set to continue its rapid growth in the US and around the world. You’d be hard pressed to find another area of retail growing at 33% a year that is accessible to all businesses no matter their size. It’s time to get your business involved. A mobile and tablet friendly site is no longer a bonus for a business. Consumers will increasingly demand access in this manner.
There are countless resources available online to help you get started and do mobile properly. One of those resources I find useful was written by Will Hacker who reminds us that research shows “people are 67% more likely to make a purchase if a website they’ve reached on their phone is smartphone-friendly.”
What are you planning for mobile commerce in 2013?
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