Value of Mobile
Imagine being able to make last-minute flight changes from your mobile phone as you race through an airport terminal. Or using your pager to sell a stock the instant it reaches a certain price. Or stepping out into the hallway during a meeting break and using your PDA to order a book your customer said he'd like to read.
Many of us already use mobile devices to transact business, work more efficiently and make our lives easier. According to a market study by Cahners-In-Stat Group, there are 500 million wireless phone users in the world today. That number is expected to double by 2006. While the wireless Web market is in its infancy, these figures indicate that mobile commerce (m-commerce) is about to explode.
To paraphrase Woody Allen, in the early days of the Web, 90 percent of success was just showing up. Web sites were static, transaction-free "publishing" sites that simply offered information. Then, e-commerce emerged and expectations rose and a Web site's user experience became a competitive differentiator. Customers wanted reliable Web site content that met their personal needs with convenience and simplicity.
Today's successful e-commerce companies have met those challenges with rich Web sites that feature comprehensive offerings, fast transactions and compelling value. Now the challenge is to bring that same formula for success to the world of m-commerce, leveraging new generations of wireless devices like Web phones, connected PDAs and pagers.
M-commerce offers an immediate business value for corporations to leverage investments in back-end e-business integration through the one-to-one connection of wireless devices. However, in the race to go wireless many providers, software vendors and companies have used a quick fix for delivering wireless content. This method uses a "screen scraping" technique to attempt to provide end users with the information and communication methods they need to stay connected.
To provide true business value, companies need to ensure that their m-commerce strategies go far beyond simply scraping content from a Web site meant to be viewed and used on a laptop or PC monitor screen. They must reflect the unique size and space requirements of a specific wireless device to provide greater business value to mobile workers, partners and customers.
Why is the right solution so vital to e-business ?
How about this:
- To increase transactions and customer retention
- To increase your service offering to customers
- To help justify your subscription rates
- To maintain your competitive edge
- To build a 1-to-1 relationship with your customers
- Mobile devices provide you with valuable information about your customers otherwise not available.
- For instance, there location and identity. Information that can help you better service them.
- That enable you to push information to them.
- To provide your customers with an always on application
- There is an immediate market.
It gives customers the opportunity to transact business more frequently. However, market pioneers will soon find the wireless waves filled with competition, just like the traditional Web. "Me too" solutions are inadequate for companies seeking market leadership.
For e-commerce providers looking to expand their offerings to mobile devices, there are several options on the market today. The best m-commerce solutions provide customers with value-added service, save time, provide up-to-the-minute accurate information and ensure satisfaction. To make the most of the opportunity to deliver wireless m-commerce, companies need a solution with the following attributes:
Content from back-end databases
solutions that use back-end databases as their information and content source can deliver the real-time, maximum performance and flexibility to drive m-commerce.
High performance and scalability
mobile users need fast, predictable, reliable response times when performing transactions like making travel arrangements, checking stocks or buying books.
Superior user experience
m-commerce providers need to design simple, intuitive interfaces that are specifically suited for the device platform, whether it's a mobile phone, PDA or pager. This is the best way to ensure a pleasant, efficient user experience.
M-commerce is an enabling technology for delivering greater business volume, customer loyalty and support for urgent transactions like travel changes and stock transactions. M-commerce applications won't work if they simply mirror the same e-commerce applications that are available on Web sites. They must offer the correct format for a specific device, plus secure access and intuitive navigation. By using the appropriate solutions and strategies, m-commerce providers and consumers will benefit and prosper from this exciting new technology.
Examples of smart mobile commerce usage:E-mail and calendaring
e-mail allows direct communication without the formality of voice conversation and without wasting time playing phone-tag. E-mail has become a key communication tool for business users. It will also become increasingly important for mobile users to have access to the highly valued communication channel. Huge benefits to be gained in worker productivity.
Corporate Network Information
Giving the mobile professional access to information otherwise locked up in corporate databases previously only accessible while in the office or using mobile access on a lap-top. Mobile devices such as WAP phones are more reliable and less expensive than laptops and can also be accessed anywhere, anytime. They also provide always-on convenience and capabilities.
Examples of this usage are:
Quick knowledge of key accounts, pushed to the mobile user if accounts log an emergency technical support call so that their sales rep can help push the call up to the top.
Maintenance records or account history do not have to be carried around can be accessed remotely.
Warehouse inventory or delivery information can be recorded on the spot so orders can be more efficiently managed.
Key features :
access across a variety of mobile devices, secure access, push technology that will allow alerting key people in an organization of important corporate developments.
Information that is valuable to a large percentage of the population. This would include news, weather and financial information. These would provide value-add to a mobile subscriber of they could screen the type of information they wanted mobile access. Good examples of this are:
Receiving news alerts regarding companies in your stock portfolio so that you may then decide to buy or sell on the spot.
Receiving an alert that one of your customers was just acquired and may now have an increased need for your products or services. These types of applications would be particularly of value to organizations that are looking for ways to differentiate themselves form their competitors, reduce churn and add value to their customers to help justify their subscription fees. (i.e. AOL.) Location-Specific Information
Information that is valuable because the user is in a mobile environment, i.e. a car, train, . Or in a location the user is not particularly familiar with. This information adds value to the mobile user because it can save them time and aggravation.
Traffic reports and detour options, airplane delays can be quickly accessed while in route so that the necessary plan changes can be made.
Directions and route information
Local hotel, restaurant, shopping and entertainment information
Banking Services give you mobile access to account balances and transactions, money transfers, bill paying. Imagine being able to access this information anytime you want without having to log on to a computer, go to ATM, wait in line at the bank or stay on hold with a customer service representative. Banks will like this feature because it will help minimize the calls going to their support representatives. Customers will like the immediate, always available access to their key financial accounts.
Stock Trading Services
Check stock prices, volume, activity and news. Have access to your portfolio from wherever you are with the ability to buy or sell whenever the need arises. Have information on your portfolio accounts pushed to your users to increase the number of transactions and customer loyalty.
Because of the limited space on mobile hand-sets and the text-only format, mobile commerce is not intended to provide the same shopping experience as the Internet. However, what it can provide is access to time-dependent transactions or impulse buying. If the customer knows what they want to buy or sell, they have access wherever and whenever they need it.
Auction-based applications where information on items of interest can be sent to the user, who can then bid on the item.
Purchasing movie tickets without waiting on line or possible having a show sold-out.
Buying a book or the cd to a song you just heard on the radio.
Purchasing airline tickets of changing a flight after you have just been notified there has been a change in your agenda, or your previous flight has been cancelled.
If a customer has indicated an interest in an on-line product, you can notify them by sending a message to their mobile device if the item goes on sale, and allow them to instantly make the purchase.