Here are several excerpts from an excellent article by Brenna Johnson, Product Marketing with Endeca Technologies, Six Steps For Building a Mobile Retail Presence. Check out the complete source article for much more on each suggested step:
If you’re an online retailer without mobile commerce capabilities, you’re missing out on sales. Smart-phones have dramatically changed the commerce landscape. Beyond a retail research tool, mobile commerce has evolved from a lightly used, nice-to-have option for early adopters into a profit center for organizations early to the game. Millions of users are now engaging with retailers via mobile devices, and doing so more frequently – with daily mobile web access doubling every six months. In fact, traffic to mobile commerce sites and applications increased 50 percent in the first half of 2010.
Having a mobile presence will soon be just as critical as having an online presence.
However, many businesses have had a panicked approach to mobile – rushing into it without realizing that success hinges on the right technology. Selecting the best technology approach for your mobile goals will be critical to driving cross-channel activity, your user experience and, ultimately, the profitability of your mobile initiative. Many firms quick to market with haphazard solutions have scrapped their initial mobile offerings and replaced them – learning lessons they couldn’t anticipate.??In order to avoid this same fate, how should you start focusing your company’s mobile initiative? The most critical decision you will make is selecting technology that will support your strategy.
Step 1: Start with a clear strategy. To avoid pitfalls, define the mobile goals of your organization to guide budget, internal support, and development timelines.
Step 2: Select the right mobile environment(s). Once you have your goals defined, understand where and how your target audience is already interacting with the mobile channel.
Step 3: Prioritize what devices to support. Once you’ve selected the environment(s) to develop, focus on which mobile device(s) to support. You should start by researching which platforms your target audience uses, and reconcile that with the behaviors of the larger consumer landscape for the greatest impact.
Step 4: Decide whether to own or outsource mobile technology. Technology will be the backbone of your mobile initiative. There are many options for building a mobile offering ranging from fully outsourced, to service-driven solutions, to homegrown technologies built and managed internally.
Step 5: Discover what existing technology you can repurpose. In most cases, you should not have to make large investments in new technologies to support mobile expansion. If you have a website, your core technologies (e-commerce platform, merchandising tools, CMS, user reviews, product information) should and can be leveraged in the mobile channel.
Step 6: Align your technology with short-term and long-term goals. Maximize your budget and get projects moving by aligning the development of mobile services with your strategy, and stage build-out accordingly.