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The Iconic part 2: The importance of mobile commerce

Michael Baker
Smarter Writer

Michael Baker is a retail consultant and vice-chair of the ICSC's Asia-Pacific Research Council

Michael Baker
Smarter Writer

Michael Baker is a retail consultant and vice-chair of the ICSC's Asia-Pacific Research Council

Why online Retailers need a m-commerce strategy. Part 2 of our interview with Adam Jacobs from The Iconic.

Part 2 of our interview with Adam Jacobs from The Iconic

Michael Baker: Focusing on m-commerce because I know that’s a big forte of yours. One of the mistakes that catalogue retailers made back in the late 1990s when e-commerce was becoming possible, was to put the catalogues up on the Internet and say, we’ll just go ahead, we’ll use the same model and show our catalogue through this different channel. And that mistake seemed to be repeated also when e-commerce retailers were moving into mobile-commerce, which was really using a different channel but using the old platform to sell on the new channel. 

You seem to have gotten beyond that particular challenge. Is there any secret sauce to that, or how did you actually make that transition? 

Adam Jacobs: I don’t think there’s a secret sauce. I think that we learnt very early on that’s very important not think in channels. And I think that often a retailer or an organisation will think of a channel as a new way to push the same messaging to a customer – so I’ve been putting content on my desktop, and what I’m now going to do is put it on mobile because that’s a whole new way of accessing the customer and I’m not going to change the content.

What that means is that the content delivery through a mobile platform should be created with consideration to how does a user behave on mobile. They’re probably on a bus, they’re looking for more engaging content, they’re having a different kind of experience, they’re looking for a different kind of transaction – how do we meet the expectation of that behaviour?

I think that what retailers should be doing is thinking in behaviours. It’s the same person who’s accessing the site via a desktop as via a mobile device, but they’re actually using the mobile device in a very different way.

- Adam Jacobs, The Iconic

MB And they also have big fat fingers.  

AJ: That’s a very good point. The usability of a mobile device is entirely different to a desktop device. So one important message for us is really focus on imagery, and we’ve worked hard at very high quality imagery across our app and our mobile site to really engage the user, as opposed to information heavy content, such as lots of text, which you might put on a website.

MB: If I’m not mistaken, about 50 per cent of your traffic is now through your mobile site and the other 50 per cent through desktop?  Is that how the sales splits up or is one outperforming the other in terms of functionality?

AJ: It’s more or less representative. I think the important thing to note here is probably not what the split is today but what it’s going to look like tomorrow and very soon. You know it was only 12 months ago that that split was more 70/30 towards desktop – now it’s 50/50. And in a year’s time it’s going to be 70 per cent in the other direction, towards mobile traffic.

So there’s a clear trend towards m-commerce. Nobody today leaves their house without their phone. Anybody sitting at a cafe or in a meeting or on a bus is playing with their phone. So it’s a growing trend that any clever retailer should be thinking very carefully about.

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