Customized E-Commerce

Posted: December 2, 2011 | Updated: December 2, 2011

The Official Merchant Services Blog switches its focus today back to e-commerce. After the boom in mobile phone usage this past weekend from Black Friday on through Cyber Monday, it’s becoming increasingly clear that smartphones and mobile internet users are becoming very important parts of the  e-commerce industry. As such, businesses that utilize e-commerce need to consider including the mobile phone element in their online shopping capability.

This increase in the importance of mobile usage –– most notably mobile payments –– is leading many e-commerce businesses to develop mobile apps. These mobile apps let those businesses customize their service and stay in touch with their consumers who prefer to connect via mobile networks. The trend is moving e-commerce mobile solutions away from the traditional Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) sites. That’s a paradigm shift in the industry. E-commerce businesses are developing and designing their own applications –– or at the very least branding their own versions of mobile apps.

Applications Over Surfing

E-commerce leaders are finding out that users prefer using a mobile application instead of going to a business through their mobile phone’s web interface. This article from The Hindu Business Line quotes Amarjit Batra of as saying: “We found users more comfortable in having a mobile application than opting for mobile web search or using WAP sites.”

This change in e-commerce puts an emphasis on having payment gateways accessible across different mobile platforms. To put it simply, a business with a mobile payment aspect to its e-commerce presence needs to have a mobile payment system compatible with Android, iPhone and Blackberry.

Host Merchant Services is staying ahead of this curve, offering a series of customizable e-commerce solutions to its merchants. Included in that package are mobile payment services apps that work on both iPhone and Android. HMS keeps its options flexible so that its merchants can tap into the rapid growth in mobile payments.

Mobile is Key to E-Commerce

This growth is looking like a trend for businesses in the burgeoning mobile payments market. Juniper Research is often cited as predicting the Mobile Payment Industry is going to blossom from a $240 billion industry to a $670 billion industry by 2015. This makes it very helpful for businesses to recognize consumer behavior in terms of their mobile device usage. Google Analytics provides a great free source of tracking for e-commerce merchants to monitor traffic from mobile devices. That’s a great first step for a business to determine what kind of mobile payment option or customization might be needed for the e-commerce a merchant is already doing. At least get an indication if there is a need for mobile payments or a customized and branded mobile app for your business.

The move towards individual businesses dabbling in their own branded app development also extends from the fluid nature of the industry as it grows and evolves. With so many different companies –– Google, PayPal, Visa to name some of the giants –– all coming up with their own variation on mobile payments, the flexibility to customize and brand their own version of mobile payment services is extremely important for all players involved in the process. This includes merchants themselves as well as merchant services providers.

Stitching it all Together

Besides just crossing platforms between the major mobile carriers, the applications being developed need to integrate web services and payment options into the solution. Essentially the goal is to make e-commerce seamless for mobile users as well as internet users. The whole range of potential business needs to be taken into account with a business’ e-commerce package. And that’s why the focus is on customization.

Sachin Singhal, e-commerce expert for Naaptol, underscores this in the Business Line article when he told them: “A mobile app is more user-friendly than having a WAP site. However, integrating the payment window with it makes the application complete.”

Host Merchant Services has been aware of this trend from its beginning. And that’s why the company offers powerful tools to its merchants that help them complete this integration –– giving them an across the board e-commerce solution that caters to mobile users and internet surfers alike. HMSPay and HMSExpress are both important elements that allow the company to capitalize on this trend and give online businesses the flexibility they need to cater to the huge growth happening in mobile payment sector.

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