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Mobile Commerce is Commerce

2009 September 3

“A half-done, hard-to-use solution with limited features certainly says something about you. It’s probably not what you want your customers to hear.”

Mobile Commerce is commerce. Mobile Banking is banking.

Too many organizations overlook this simple truth and instead treat mobile as a simple feature add-on to their web solution. They do so at their peril.

Done right, mobile is not a simple technology decision, but a business expansion. For example, a successful mobile banking rollout certainly includes Technology and Information Security teams, but it also touches Marketing, Retail Banking, Banking Operations, and in some cases, Commercial banking. Rolling out mobile banking is a great excuse to touch your customers through bank statements, courtesy calls, print and mass media advertising, signage in your branches, user education events, etc.

Your customers will see your mobile option as an extension of your brand and a statement about who you are. A half-done, hard-to-use solution with limited features certainly says something about you. It’s probably not what you want your customers to hear.

Look around the internet. There are few if any press releases on the success of mobile sites that simply refactored their web site into a mobile site.

How successful can your mobile commerce site be if you can’t buy anything?

Successful mobile initiatives start with the overall business goals, then they figure out how mobile can help achieve those goals. Technically, this usually involves figuring out how to translate your connection with your customer into the mobile context.

For example, Facebook announced today they have 65 million mobile users. Despite some early usability issues, the application is encouraging more engagement and more users to join, which drives revenue. Facebook focused on the key use cases of status updates and wall posts. These chunks of functionality fit well into the mobile context and made Facebook easier to use because members didn’t have to remember their witty comment until they got back to their computer – they just typed it when the thought about it and moved on.

Similarly, Bank of America has seen tremendous success in their mobile banking application by focusing on getting key functionality to the most users possible. In Bank of America’s case, this meant offering a variety of mobile banking products.

Similarly, USAA recently announced success with its mobile remote deposit feature. USAA announced that users deposited over $1.5 million in the first days after the service launched. Mobile deposits are important to USAA because the bank doesn’t operate a large retail branch network and their customers are spread around the world. Mobile deposits bring more deposits into the bank and encourage customers to choose their USAA account as their primary account rather than an account from another bank or credit union.

The mobile image you project is increasingly the image your customers see. Make a good impression.

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