Mobile commerce presents companies with opportunities, but challenges too


Engaging with customers on mobile devices simply makes sense. With the rise in mobile device use by consumers, firms without a strategy in place could be left behind, seeming outdated. According to CSP contributor Bob Carr, there are a number of considerations to ponder when adding mobile capabilities. Mobility programs begin with philosophical questions regarding the purpose and deployment model behind the software and end with logistical requirements, such as the need to employ a strong transaction management framework.

Ups and downs

According to Carr, companies need to consider the implications of their decision to enable a mobile application into an overall strategy. One exciting possibility for modern stores is the ability to deploy a mobile application that can act as a convenient, handheld self-checkout platform. This cannot be introduced heedlessly, however. Carr explained that IT leaders need to understand how the new app will integrate with the existing point-of-sale transaction management system.

Getting data from purchases made on a handheld device to combine correctly with overall information is important, especially as businesses have become more data-driven in recent years. Carr explained that there are several industry standards with which apps can conform, which can help data move between systems.

Mobile applications meant to be used in stores, according to Carr, bring a variety of interesting questions and challenges. He stated that loss prevention and employee training strategies may have to change in light of the new purchase method. Customers, he stated, may have concerns or questions about the application that employees are likely not prepared to answer.

Carr suggested that the "cool" factor behind new mobile technology might be harmful. He cautioned IT users to not become short-sighted about their usual concerns when adding new systems.

Mobility as defining trend

According to Retail Digital, a recent CloudSense survey found that more than half of companies are ready to face mobile and social customers with their transaction management strategy. The source indicated that there is serious concern that the companies without any type of mobile solution could fall behind their peers and falter in the marketplace.

The source noted that 13 percent of companies have no plans to add mobile or social options to their commerce offerings in the near future. This could be a decision that leads to intense sales trouble, as mobile devices have begun to largely supplant computers in several functions in the shopping routine, such as catalog-style browsing.