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Five Web 2.0 activities that apply to mobile ecommerce

By Linda Bustos

In a day and age where everyday activities such as shopping and banking can be accomplished with just a few quick clicks of the mouse, whether it be on a computer or a PDA, the ease with which retailers are able to reach their consumers has increased exponentially.

It is vital that retailers explore ways to incorporate their Web 2.0 and social media strategies into the world of mobile commerce to stay competitive in today’s electronic marketplace. 

In the ecommerce context, Web 2.0 includes leveraging social commerce on your own site, blogging and podcasting and participating in social networks such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and anywhere you or your customers can create and share content. All of these can be accessed from any number of mobile phones or promoted through technology roadshows or moving billboards.

Many retailers will find themselves wondering how to best translate Web 2.0 activities onto a mobile platform. This article will explore five Web 2.0 activities for ecommerce and how they can be best applied to mobile commerce.

Shopping widgets
Shopping widgets are pieces of portable content that can be displayed almost anywhere on the Web.

Widgets allow retailers to push an interactive experience to affiliate sites, customer sites and social networks.

Due to the fact that many widgets are designed in Flash – a platform not universally accepted on mobile devices – retailers should ensure that their widgets are created in Flash Light or with dynamically placed images instead.

Factors to be considered include intermittent connections, bandwidth limitations, the need for data storage on the client and most importantly, how a local application provides a richer user experience.

Another way to ask and answer questions is through Twitter.

A high percentage of Twitterers use the service through mobile applications. Users can get nearly instant answers to questions directed at a retailer or the general Twitter universe and retailers can monitor what is being said about them.

Twitter can also be used as an alternative form of RSS and email marketing, a way to share deals and coupons, promote contests or simply put a human face to your company.

In order to best use Twitter as a mobile marketing tool, retailers need to first build a following and then have their followers turn on their device notification for that Twitter account. This will allow each tweet you make to easily be sent via SMS to your group of followers.

Facebook pages
The best Facebook pages have taken advantage of the platform to create a social network for their most raving fans that live where they play, not on the retailer’s Web site.

This makes it much easier to share and invite other friends to participate, rather than forwarding emails or product pages to friends that drive people to the retailer’s Web site.

With two mobile platforms –, which works from any mobile browser and, which is enabled for Androids and iPhones – plus devices manufactured by Nokia and Palm, it is easier than ever for retailers to reach their mobile audiences on the go.

Through Facebook Mobile texts, consumers can receive notifications and send and receive SMS as well.

Retail blogging
Blogs can be a great way to connect with customers, talk about new products, share interviews, videos, podcasts, news, photos and jokes.

Also, blogs can be a branding and loyalty vehicle used to attract links and search engine traffic and which can easily be carried out through mobile blogging or moblogging, a tool that allows an author to publish entries directly to the Web from a mobile phone or other handheld devices while on the move.

It is the perfect tool for the phone-camera-equipped retailer that likes to email, MMS or SMS photos.

A mobile blogging platform offers the capability to use a mobile phone for administration, editing and writing from a feature phone or smartphone browser.

Video sharing
Video sharing can greatly improve conversion rates and reduce returns and is very simple to set up.

Adding video to YouTube and other video sharing sites can help retailers obtain additional search engine exposure, since Google likes to mix video results in with regular Web pages, news stories and image results – blended search, in other words.

And like widgets, people can put your video on their blogs and Web sites if it is interesting.

Although mobile-oriented, Web-based front ends for video hosting services that possess equal access and capability to desktop-oriented Web services have not yet been developed, retailers can employ mobile live streaming software such as Qik to upload videos from their mobile phones to the Internet, where they will be stored online and shared to social networking sites.

IN TODAY’S online retail environment, social tools and how they integrate with mobile marketing has become more and more important as the Web itself becomes more social. Yet retailers struggle to find social tactics that drive real sales and ROI.

Not every social activity is appropriate for a retailer. It depends on the product it sells, the competitive industry, consumer behavior and the retailer’s commitment to invest in the resources to develop and maintain social initiatives.

Linda Bustos is ecommerce analyst at Elastic Path Software, an enterprise ecommerce platform provider in Vancouver, British Columbia. Reach her at [email protected].