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Why retailers need to board the e-commerce bandwagon

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Recent reports indicate mobile commerce retail revenue jumped a whopping 97 percent in the past year to the tune of $18.2 million. Not only are consumers visiting retail store websites on their smartphones more frequently than in years past, they're completing more purchases from mobile devices as well.

Mark Troselj, Managing Director of NetSuite Asia Pacific & Japan, says mobile commerce is such an important part of the shopping experience these days that to ignore it is tantamount to business suicide.

"Retailers that fail to respond to the new era of mobility face being isolated and left behind as the behaviour of their customers change," Troselj says. Though Troselj's op-ed piece is aimed at Australian retailers, his advice is sound for businesses in other countries as well.

A surprising number of retailers fail to provide even a basic mobile website for their brand, much less a mobile app with information like directions, store hours, and in-stock inventory. Troselj says mobile devices are an integral part of the shopping experience and businesses need to plan ahead for success by considering things like placing QR codes on products or offering free Wi-Fi in stores.

So, who makes up the bulk of today's mobile commerce customers? Consumer technology analyst Phil Carter, Associate at Trinity Ventures investment firm, says its "moms, millennials, and multinationals." While they aren't the only groups behind the upsurge in e-commerce, they're certainly the most predominant.

In today's increasingly mobile world, smartphone penetration and usage is increasing across nearly every demographic," Carter notes. "However, for m-commerce entrepreneurs looking to build the next big thing, targeting at least one of the three M's represents an effective strategy for establishing a core of highly-engaged early adopters.

Unless smartphones suddenly evaporate from the planet, it's clear mobile commerce is here to stay. Retailers need to identify and target this growing consumer base if they want to stay relevant among their competitors.

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