The future of mobile commerce from Shop.org

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I just listened to a Shop.org webinar playback from Sucharita Mulpuru, VP and Principal Analyst, eBusiness/Forrester Research from November 15th. The focus of the presentation was to discuss the current state of mobile commerce. Overall there was some good information in the presentation and there was one analogy that “wasn’t quite right”.

Sucharita points out that eCommerce currently makes up 11% of overall retail commerce. Ten years ago it was 2% and today mobile commerce also comprises 2%. Privacy was one of the the biggest hurdles for ecommerce to flourish 10 years ago with Amazon leading the way in the online transaction space. This combined with broadband adoption helped the online business world evolve to where we are now. Fair enough. She then sites Apple as driving the future of mobile commerce. Uh . . . If she means that they’ve shown others the way in regards to the touchweb; then yes. But I don’t think that’s what she’s saying. I believe she’s talking about the tipping point for this type of commerce and it won’t be Apple helping us get there. What will get us to the tipping point? It will be eBay and Amazon again. They’ve collectively made $3.2 billion in mobile commerce over the last 2 years and people trust those companies. That trust is what will move mobile commerce to the forefront of consumers minds.

Sucharita compares Apple to Amazon, which is apples (no pun. I swear.) to oranges. Apple is an electronics manufacturer. The appropriate comparison is:

  • broadband adoption = smartphone adoption
  • Amazon & eBay = Amazon & eBay on mobile devices

Apple is equivalent to the PC makers back the day.

As to the question of, when will the tipping point be; I’m pretty sure it will be within the next 2-3 years. It took ten years for the Internet to get it to it’s current state and that was not only a technological effort but more importantly, a behavioral one. This time, the behavior is already there, it’s “simply” a change of venue. The device is different in many ways but not so much that people don’t get it like they didn’t get the web when the web was wild. (Some didn’t think the web would make it!) This (r)evolution (for the US) started in 2007 and give it another 2-3 years and then you’ll see some real changes.

Viva le Evolution!

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I'm an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, biking, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive and/or surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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