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Maximizing M-Commerce in a 4G Environment

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By Josh Levine

RISMEDIA, May 25, 2011—The current explosion in smartphone sales and deployment of 4G networks is making an investment in m-commerce capabilities increasingly necessary for retailers. M-commerce technologies provide a great way to target consumers and draw them into your online or brick-and-mortar stores.

The increased speeds provided by new 4G networks such as Sprint 4G and Verizon LTE allow mobile retailers to do more with limited options. While 4G networks have significantly increased the speed of page downloads, they’re still not as fast as Wi-Fi. This means that m-commerce sites must remain sleek and able to deliver less content per page than regular sites.

However, m-commerce websites can be made increasingly interactive and easy to navigate with the addition of features such as auto-suggest search bars and one-click checkouts. Remember that m-commerce is targeting shoppers who are in a rush, so streamlining a site to make the retail experience as painless as possible is essential.

Moreover, smartphones are also getting faster with faster processors, better graphics and increased RAM. The succession of improvements allows for a greater m-commerce experience as images and data can be processed and displayed in a timelier fashion. With the iPhone 5 supposedly available this coming September, there have been hints of such features as biometric scanning or near-field communication (NFC) technology, which if implemented could allow for smoother mobile transactions.

However, retailers still need to be conscious of the challenges present in mobile development. For starters, retailers are constrained by the smaller screen on smartphones, limiting the amount of information they can present on a page. The content that’s delivered must be proportional with the quality of information on your e-commerce site so the user experience is consistent.

As with all website improvements, retailers looking to stretch their technology dollars must consider their sales performance and website analytics. Translating analytics into useful insights remains a significant challenge for most retailers. One question retailers should ask themselves as part of any planned technology upgrade is the following: Am I getting the most out of my analytics package?

Many retailers don’t always understand what metrics they ought to be looking at or collecting. Provided they take the time to understand where the most beneficial changes can be made, retailers can make inexpensive investments in mobile that yield substantial benefits.

By identifying what influences consumer behavior, retailers can make better purchasing decisions for new technology—even if they’re on a tight budget. Keeping these factors in mind, there should be few challenges in building and deploying a fully functional m-commerce website that’s equipped to handle current loads yet still able to grow for future scalability.

Josh Levine is chief experience officer at Alexander Interactive

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