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Mobile commerce will not reach tipping point in 2011: Appitalism

While sales of mobile content such as applications are booming and mobile purchases of physical goods are increasing, 2011 will not go down as the year of mobile commerce, according to Appitalism.

The company’s platforms combine a social community with an online store to help consumers discover, discuss and download digital content for smartphones, tablets, PCs and ebook readers. While Appitalism confirms that money is being made via apps, mobile commerce as a whole is still experiencing some growing pains.

Mobile Commerce Daily’s Dan Butcher interviewed Simon Buckingham, CEO of Appitalism, New York. Here is what he had to say:

Based on the current state of mobile content in general and apps in particular, what advice can you give to brands/marketers, publishers/media companies and retailers/merchants?
I think there are two very different types of apps with very different types of objectives—the promotional disposable apps based around, say, a one-off event and the flagship brand-building apps that are designed to be the brand’s continuous presence in mobile and apps.

Few companies play well in both spaces—tactical and strategic.

Not everything has to be an expensive tent-pole app, as apps oftentimes have a short lifespan.

Being able to work with Appitalism and others that can get the word about the apps out to a lot of engaged consumers very quickly, which helps with the return on their investment in mobile and apps.

What level of growth and trends do you expect to see in the area of mobile commerce over the course of 2011?
Mobile commerce in 2011 will leverage simple but powerful building blocks such as check-ins and bar codes.

Expect more apps like the one for the Starbucks Card, which is elegant and simple—it takes an existing store loyalty card and mobilizes it in an app that can be scanned using the store’s point-of-sale systems.

We also expect the likes of Square and Intuit GoPayment to spur uptake of easy-to-use credit-card swiping accessories that let everyone from babysitters to dog-walkers to personal trainers to accept credit-card payments [using their mobile devices].

That being said, consumer adoption typically lags technology capability by two or three years, so we don’t expect 2011 to be the year that mobile commerce growth tips and becomes mainstream.

What are the various payment mechanisms that Appitalism enables?
Appitalism gives consumers the choice to pay as App Cash (simply pay as you go), as an App Card (stored-value loyalty card that can be loaded and reloaded) or as part of an App Club (recurring subscription model).

Any of these can be paid for using PayPal, credit cards, debit cards or directly from a bank account—all available either as one-time or recurring transactions from either the Web or mobile.

Which devices/operating systems are generating the most interest/downloads on Appitalism?
Apple accounts for about 25 percent of the total download volumes, apps and games for feature phones are about 20 percent, Android about 20 percent, BlackBerry about 10 percent and the other dozen or so app stores that Appitalism unifies account for the rest, with lots of engaged interest from, for example, consumers with Windows Mobile and Palm webOS devices.

What can mobile users access Appitalism while on the go?
The mobile version of Appitalism, which can be accessed via, automatically detects the type of device being used from around 5,000 devices supported and delivers a customized experience featuring only content that is compatible with that device.

Appitalism automatically populates the member’s My Devices part of their My Appitalism profile so they will also see compatible content when they visit the Web site.

Key features of the service such as the ability to earn and spend App Rewards loyalty points are available on both the Web site and the mobile version of Appitalism.

Final Take
Mr. Buckingham