lundi 27 septembre 2010

Mobile "E-commerce" tips for open source ecommerce merchants

Are you still thinking that nobody will ever shop your online store using their cell phones? You can put that old saw to rest: "" reported that over the last 12 months they sold over a billion dollars worth of goods via mobile commerce. 

While mobile ecommerce is hitting the big retailers by storm, smaller online merchants are struggling to make sense of what is hype and what is real. Most Open Source eCommerce (OSC) merchants still have few options open to them. 

Here's a guide to help OSC merchants know what you need to do right now to prepare for mobile ecommerce, in rank order of importance:
  1. If your target market is young, hip, and bleeding-edge tech-savvy, you are behind and should already be offering a mobile version of your online store. Or if you are a big retailer selling something for everyone. Just stop reading this article and do it.
  2. Everyone else, check your current website in an iPhone and a Droid or other smart phone right now to see what your customers are seeing. Borrow a friend's phone or get one for dedicated testing. Fix stuff that doesn't work in the test phone. Now repeat this every time you make a change to your site. Navigate to a product and buy it. Is it easy? Good: your site is mobile-optimized.
  3. If you use Flash in your existing website, have your programmers add a no-Flash alternative such as JavaScript. There's nothing that cripples a mobile ecommerce transaction more than using Flash as your main form of navigation. 
  4. If you do offer a Mobile version of your website, let visitors choose whether to use it or not - don't use a program that automatically redirects them to the mobile site. Some mobile versions are so drab and dry that users prefer to view the miniature version of your regular site. They don't want to re-learn how your site works in your new text-laden Mobile version. 
  5. If you simply must offer an iPhone, iPad and Android version of your store today, if your OSC store is "Magento" there is a new white-label solution that allows you to quickly deploy a mobile site. Cost is around $800 setup and $700-825 per year. Some tech-savvy store owners have deployed a mobile version of their store in just a few days.
  6. If your OSC store is not Magento, i.e. osCommerce, Zen Cart, CRE Loaded or some other flavor and you are dying to be in with the in-crowd with your very own iPhone or Smartphone app, you will have to pay for custom development. This is not easy or cheap, and each platform is different. You may be better off waiting for more apps to come out soon. You know they will. 

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