M-commerce / Mobile Commerce : Mobile website vs app ?

There is now a considerable growing buzz in the internet industry as m-commerce or mobile commerce comes of age – with over 11 million people now using a smartphone in the UK (August 2011).

You also have another portion of users browsing the internet on tablets such as the Apple iPad, although these platforms arguably have a different future as many websites appear as well as they do on other hardware mediums such as laptops and desktop computers.

So every retailer is at present debating the relevance of this new marketing channel, but most are arriving at the conclusion that they need to take action for their future online trading. Some key top level brands have already had proven success via their apps: ASOS, Netaporter and Next among others.

Others are choosing to have a specific mobile friendly version of their website developed that is streamlined for smartphone users – clearer navigation and content made around the constraints of small screen sizes and touch interfaces.

So should you talk to your web team or professional partner as soon as possible to start development of an m-commerce platform for your business ? Yes but the facts point to a mobile website is probably a wiser investment right now.

A recent study completed by Google and Ipsos showed that 81% of smartphone users browse the internet on their devices, 77% use search and 68% use an app – this raises some interesting questions.

32% – a high percentage do not use apps (other than perhaps the world dominating app involving birds!)

So with this factor in mind the app route still feels in its infancy for retailers in favour of a clear and simple m-commerce approach should look to develop a mobile website first and see what results can be achieved.