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Mobile commerce: what it means for your business

Is your business ready for mobile commerce? A recent study by Lloyds Bank Cardnet partner, First Data, has revealed a growth in purchasing via mobile phone, as consumers continue to shift away from bricks and mortar shopping. Retailers' adoption of technologies, however, is running behind the consumer trend.

The growth of smartphone shoppers

Almost a third of Britons have already made a purchase using their mobile, according to WPP research. The Centre for Retail Research predicts a 62% growth of mobile shopping in 2014. Initially used more for browsing information, consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile phone to make transactions.

Mobile shopping revolution

Whilst mobile commerce is growing across the globe, UK consumers have been some of the quickest to adopt the technology. The UK has the highest percentage of mobile shoppers of any European country, according to the Centre for Retail Research. Britons are expected to spend £7.9 billion on mobile shopping this year, up from £4.9 billion in 2013.

Businesses slow to respond

Increasingly, mobile commerce is relevant for all businesses, not just those selling digital goods. However, only one in three businesses with a website has it optimised for mobile use, according to the First Data study. This could result in lost transactions as customers fail to complete their purchase.

Although many businesses have yet to accommodate mobile shoppers, it's not for lack of technological awareness. According to the First Data survey, 89% of merchants know that mobile payment technology exists. The discrepancy lies in their perception of its importance, with only 47% saying that new payment and marketing technologies are important for staying ahead of the competition.

Optimising your website for mobile commerce

For businesses selling online, the challenge is to ensure customers can easily find what they're looking for and complete their purchases with minimal effort. The first step is to make sure the entire site, including payment pages, can be read on all major mobile devices – from smartphones to tablets.

Some businesses choose to set up a separate website or app designed just for mobile customers. Others opt for a 'responsive' website design that automatically adapts to the device a customer is using, whether it's a desktop computer, smartphone or tablet.

1 Source: Centre for Retail Research

2 Source: First Data report

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