M-commerce: What does your ideal site look like?

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Juan Martinez, senior editor, Direct Marketing News
Juan Martinez, senior editor, Direct Marketing News

In researching my m-commerce feature (scheduled for publication in the April e-commerce-themed issue), I came across several interesting debates.

For example, several of the multichannel retailers with whom I spoke discussed a hesitance to develop apps specifically geared toward commerce. One of the retailers cited data that suggests consumers only open apps once and then discard them or never use them again. Another retailer claimed apps weren't commerce drivers but could serve to enhance content after purchases had already been made. The opposition camp swears by commerce-driven apps and has built unique versions for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.   

Another interesting topic revolves around whether brands need to build separate sites for mobile commerce or whether optimizing their e-commerce sites for mobile devices is perfectly fine. Some of the retailers with whom I spoke said building separate sites is costly and requires unnecessary upkeep (and oftentimes requires several technology partnerships). However, others swore that a site built specifically for each device provides the best user experience and will ultimately reward consumers for their visits.

Perhaps the most interesting debate centered on whether brands should build consistent experiences across all channels. Should your mobile site look and feel like your mobile apps? Should your apps resemble your e-commerce site? Most retailers seem to feel that a differentiated approach allows them to take full advantage of the specific features available on each device (larger format on tablets, for example). However, others think a seamless experience enables consumers to feel comfortable navigating each platform, as opposed to having to relearn how to use each channel upon each visit.

What do you think?

Can apps drive commerce?

Should mobile sites be built specifically for each device?

Should experiences remain consistent across channels?

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