Mobile eCommerce – Join the Revolution!

eMarketer: US Retail Mcommerce Sales

Is “going mobile” on your company’s radar?  If not, it should be because the mobile revolution is growing at an extraordinary pace.  The number of smartphone users is rapidly rising – 42% a year, globally, according to research from Morgan Stanley.  At this rate more and more consumers will rely on their smartphones and tablets to access company websites.  So what’s the problem?  Traditional desktop websites do not translate well on a mobile device. They force users to pinch, scroll and zoom just to navigate a page.  The result leads to a frustrating user experience and a potential lost sale.  In a recent Google survey, 61% of respondents said that if a site isn’t mobile-friendly they’ll take their attention, and wallets, elsewhere.

Today, the mobile movement is impacting the way organizations conduct business and more recently, affecting eCommerce sales. Mobile eCommerce is essentially traditional eCommerce but enables wireless devices such as smartphones and tablets to make business transactions anytime, anywhere.  Since the launch of the iPhone in 2007 and massive sales of tablets as of late, mobile eCommerce is of the utmost importance.

According to eMarketer, in 2012 consumers spent $25 billion on purchases made from phones and tablets; an increase of 81% from the year before and 11% of the total eCommerce sales.  By the end of 2013, the number of purchases made on portable devices is expected to reach 15%. Even more impressive is that by 2016, mobile eCommerce will account for over 27% or $87 billion of all eCommerce sales. Now that’s impressive.

How Mobile Can Work For You

The first step in building a mobile strategy is to decide whether to deploy a mobile web app or native mobile app.  In a nutshell, a mobile web app is pretty much the same as any other website; however, it has been optimized for the smaller touch screens of phones and tablets and can be accessed from a mobile browser.  By contrast, native mobile apps are actual applications that are downloaded and installed on your mobile device, rather than rendered within a browser.  Native mobile apps are known for providing a rich user experience with improved performance and seamless integration with the device’s native features.

According to a recent global survey from the Compuware Corporation, when asked about the benefits of using a native mobile app vs. a mobile web app, 85% of survey respondents preferred native mobile apps over mobile web apps, primarily because native apps are more convenient, faster and easier to navigate.

Net Benefits of Mobile Apps vs Native Mobile AppsHowever, the trouble with native mobile apps (and mobile web apps to a lesser degree) is that they are costly and time consuming to develop.  You will likely be bringing in new technologies, learning new languages and testing on multiple platforms.  Not to mention each operating system requires a different version of the app.

Using Mobile to Improve Business Processes

Over 10 years ago, LANSA found itself coding custom IBM i eCommerce websites over and over again – even though customers were from an array of industries, the functionality of each site was basically the same.  This trend led to LANSA applying all the experience it had amassed over the years to building LANSA Commerce Edition, a turnkey eCommerce solution constructed upon a suite of prebuilt B2B and B2C components designed to integrate and extend information in back office ERPs to a desktop browser.

Fast forward to 2012 and we noticed a similar trend, but this time in mobile eCommerce.  The recent mobile revolution, and in particular the adoption of native mobile apps in the business community, was the catalyst for LANSA to develop LANSA Commerce Edition Mobile – a native Apple or Android app, downloadable from the App Store or Google Play, that shares all of the same backend componentry as the desktop version of LANSA Commerce Edition currently in production at thousands of organizations.  Commerce Edition Mobile has been engineered to fully integrate with JD Edwards, BPCS and many other ERP systems to support remote sales forces, field technicians, shop floor workers and other roles where mobile technology adds value to their job.

Commerce Edition Mobile allows you to quickly roll out native apps for mobile eCommerce that provide the user experience your customers want while shielding you from the complexities of having to learn and write your own native mobile apps.  Commerce Edition Mobile significantly reduces the time-to-market, lowers the total-cost-of-ownership of mobile app development and provides optimum return on investment.

LANSA Commerce Edition Mobile Home Screen
This image represents an example of Commerce Edition Mobile home screen reflecting a launching point for employees or customers to access invoices, orders, contacts, promotions and more. Commerce Edition Mobile allows you to customize the native mobile app to your needs using the content management utility features.

Commerce Edition Mobile is the first native mobile eCommerce application for the IBM i and is written in RPG, which allows any IBM i developer to update and maintain the application.  Some of the features included in Commerce Edition Mobile are:

  • Product Catalog
  • Personal Catalog
  • Order Templates
  • Signature Template
  • Shipment Tracking
  • Multi-Storefront
  • Invoice Payments
  • PDF Catalog

Coming summer 2013, LANSA will be able to offer the first native mobile eCommerce application solution for the IBM i because they used LongRange as the mobile development technology.  LongRange enables developers to build and deploy native interfaces for Apple and Android using their existing RPG/COBOL and DDS skills.  All LongRange native mobile apps can fully integrate with any ERP system and database running on the IBM i.

Mobile eCommerce is the next wave of mobile technology that will impact the way organizations conduct business.  With Commerce Edition Mobile, LANSA provides IBM i organizations with an innovative eCommerce solution fully integrated with their core business processes, delivered with a stunning user experience to meet the demands of today’s mobile work force.

Tom Cremieux

Author: Tom Cremieux

Tom has over seven years of application architecture and development experience, having been involved in multiple modernization, integration, and development projects with various platforms using an array of tools and techniques including .NET, Java, PHP, HTML, and LANSA.

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