MShopper launches SaaS for mobile Web development
The Mobile Commerce Made Easy platform creates a basic template that online merchants can easily integrate to drive and track sales. Retailers such as Smartmomma, JewelryShopping.com and Surfside Sports, and other merchants using MerchantAdvantage ecommerce tools, have signed on for the beta test of the platform.
“Mobile commerce is difficult and complex,” said Kathryn Wardell, vice president of merchant services and sales at mShopper, Boulder, CO. “Given the number of platforms, devices, screen sizes and browsers, the complexity can be mindboggling.
“Merchants need a mobile solution that is both a fully functional additional sales channel and an end-to-end mobile platform that supports their creation of a mobile store, the merchandising, the build of the mobile database and the marketing tools to drive traffic and sales, as well as the analytics to measure what works and ROI,” he said. “The mShopper Mobile Commerce Made Easy platform has all of these features, and because it is SaaS it puts the merchant in the driver’s seat.
“With their product data feed and a logo, brands can create an mstore in minutes, not months.”
MShopper developed the Mobile Commerce Made Easy platform.
Bay Harbor Islands, FL-based MerchantAdvantage offers ecommerce tools for businesses such as Geeks.com, Moosejaw and Dover Saddlery.
Simplified mobile Web sites
The Mobile Commerce Platform is currently in beta.
The platform facilitates proprietary marketing and merchandising tools, mobile alerts and the development of a mcommerce site.
The mShopper mobile Web site template includes basic functionality that allows users to search for items in a minimum of keystrokes and clicks.
The template’s search function lets users enter in three letters of a brand name (for example, “SON” for Sony).
In the middle of the page is a picture and link for the day’s “Hot Deal,” an item featured by the Web site.
A “Hot Deals” button leads to a page with more offers.
The site also includes a browsing feature that lets users search for products by category, brand or keyword.
Users can click on a button at the bottom of the screen that reads “Get First Dibs on the Best Deals!” to opt-in to receive SMS alerts..
This feature uses a program called GetFirstDibs, which creates a database of mobile phones that have opted-in for SMS alerts.
Merchants can use this information to register sales and track users through analytics built into the mShopper platform.
Finally, the Web site can save account information, which users can access by entering in their ten digit mobile number.
Here is a screen grab of the Smartmomma mobile site, built with the mShopper platform:
Here is a screen grab of the JewelryShopping.com mobile site, built with the mShopper platform:
JewelryShopping.com’s mobile Web site is available at http://www.jewelryshopping.mobi.
Here is a screen grab of the Surfside Sports mobile site, built with the mShopper platform:
Surfside Sport’s mobile Web site is available at http://www.mshop.surfsidesports.com.
The mcommerce sites are simple and easy to use – of utmost importance according to mShopper:
“[When developing an mcommerce site] you need to put on your technology hat for functionality and user interface- ease of use,” Ms. Wardell said. “You need to be considerate of the mobile shopper being different from the ecommerce and retail shopper.
“The mobile shopper wants a quick, easy solution as they are often on the go and distracted with multi-tasking.”
Mcommerce a business imperative
Mcommerce Web sites are becoming larger components of retailers’ sales programs.
For example, with back-to-school season approaching, Sears and other retailers are promoting their mcommerce stores as an easy way to fit in school shopping amidst hectic summer schedules (see story).
Mshopper sees the growth of mcommerce as inevitable, and says that those businesses that do not start implementing mcommerce strategies will regret it later.
“We feel there is a business imperative involved in moving into mobile commerce,” Ms. Wardell said. “It is essential that merchants and brands alike recognize that mobile is unique.
“Its opportunities and challenges require a new and different mindset,” she said. “To put together a benign mobile presence, redundant with an existing ecommerce website, represents both a missed opportunity and a misguided effort.
“Mobile affords merchants and brands direct access to consumers through a small and powerful device, and the nature of the device and what it represents need to be taken into account in marketing to these consumers and motivating them to buy.”\
Peter Finocchiaro, editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily, New York