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Ten key mobile commerce best-practice tips

Mobile commerce is ramping up to be the undisputed star in the mobile ecosystem, with consumer adoption forcing retailers to switch gears and adapt to the new reality. 

Here are best-practice tips to navigate that world.

1. Have a transaction?enabled mobile store. Half-measures will not work. In a year?s time, when one out of two subscribers nationwide will have Web-enabled smartphones, they will expect the same experience on mobile as they do on traditional sites and in-store.

2. Start with a mobile Web site, graduate to an application. Consumers naturally gravitate to the Web, so make sure that a mobile site is a top priority. Take learnings from that experience and build an application on the Apple and Google Android platforms that is geared to the brand?s best customers.

3. Get a common short code to build a mobile CRM program. Link the mobile effort to the overall database marketing initiatives. Promote the short code in-store and online for registrations to send out alerts, store and product updates and links to mobile destinations. Also, send out alerts to opted-in consumers to sign up for the brand?s emails.

4. Make the mobile store user-friendly. In other words, ensure intuitive navigation, effective merchandising, close-up pictures and fewer click-throughs. Place the search bar on every page. The ?Back? button should be on the top right-hand-side of each page.

5. An efficient on-site search engine is key. Consumers do not have as much time or comfort to browse on mobile as they do on computers. On-site search is critical in this scenario.

6. Make the privacy policy link visible on every page. Avoid any future headaches or lawsuits. Make it clear what is being tracked and what data is being collected ? in clear and simple terms.

7. Link the mobile store?s back-end to the ecommerce and store order-taking, fulfillment and returns infrastructure. The mobile operations should be tied in to the overall retail operations, allowing for eventual in-store pick-up of mobile orders.

8. Ensure that the mobile commerce and mobile advertising and marketing efforts have the same branding elements as the other retail and marketing channels. Consumers do not shop channels, they shop brands.

9. Dedicate personnel to the mobile operations. At least one to two executives should be tasked to handle the mobile efforts at launch and then adjust manpower accordingly.

10. Promote the mobile store in other channels and drive traffic to other channels. Build awareness among consumers of this new shopping option. Use the mobile store and mobile marketing efforts to encourage visits to retail locations and also to register for email alerts.