IBM has announced new software that delivers a personalized and more interactive shopping experience for the exploding population of mobile users worldwide. The software incorporates new social networking capabilities and the ability for retailers to reach consumers with personalized promotions, coupons and other content, regardless of how or where the customer chooses to shop with them.
Advancements in mobile devices are reshaping the way customers interact with brands, expanding beyond mere information exchange to true online commerce. Increasingly, the beneficiaries of this growth are online retailers. According to independent research firm, Forrester Research, Inc., consumer retail sales from websites is projected to reach $211.7 billion by 2012 in the United States alone, up from $125.1 billion in 2007.*(Forrester Research, "State of Retailing Online 2009: Marketing" by Sucharita Mulpuru, June 5, 2009.)
The new software underscores IBM's commitment to the mobile space. In June, the company announced a five-year, $100 million research initiative aimed at improving mobile services and capabilities for businesses and consumers worldwide.
To meet this demand, IBM is introducing WebSphere Commerce 7, a new release of its industry-leading e-commerce software that enhances the shopping experience for mobile consumers. The new IBM Mobile Store solution improves the shopping experience from start to finish, enabling customers to more easily browse an online store, conduct side-by-side product comparisons, then view store locations, check inventory availability and complete the purchase.
Shoppers can even place orders online and pick up their merchandise at the closest store -- which can be automatically mapped out for them on their mobile phone. With the new IBM technology, retailers can also instantly deliver timely, relevant and personalized brand information and promotions, based on past purchases, to a customer's mobile device through text messages or e-mail. According to IBM's Institute for Business Value, the number of mobile users will grow by 191 percent from 2006 to 2011 to reach approximately one billion users worldwide. (IBM Institute of Business Value, "Go Mobile, Grow" by Christian Seider, Sean Lafferty and Dr. Sungyoul Lee, 2008.)
So they've established through research that we're shopping online, but that it's going further to shopping on our mobile phones. But why? Do we really not have time to go shopping anymore? Do we not have time to even sit at our computer anymore? Using our mobile phone for everything isn't proof that we need to have such a gadget, it more demonstrates how we accept new technology that is available to us in the current postmodern situation. People don't want to be left behind, so they're accepting something like this. But not everyone can use the application. Although almost all phones, and definitely all new models, have access to the internet, the iPhone was the first to really be proved to the public (and draw them in) that the internet can be easily accessed on your handset. Do some believe we need an iPhone in order to access the internet? What about costs? You're already paying to have the Internet at home, so why pay for it on your mobile as well? If you don't have the money, and had to choose, I'm betting home internet will be more popular. If you do have the money, you're probably busy out earning that money and so require internet on your mobile.