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M-Commerce and your Online Business

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 20 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
Online Business M-commerce Networking

At the moment online business means the Internet. However, one area that many E-commerce businesses are now developing their enterprises to exploit is the coming explosion in M-commerce. M-commerce uses the mobile phone network just like the Internet and the world-wide-web it supports as another channel to reach customers.

What began with businesses selling networking services such as dating, ring tones and of course games, will soon be joined by a raft of new websites that are specifically built for the M-commerce channel. The Internet in your customers hands is now a reality with a number of mobile phone handsets able to give their users unhindered access to the Internet no matter where they are. The uncoupling of the Internet from the desktop and laptop computer looks set to be the next boom in electronic commerce.

Mobile Commerce

The introduction of the 3G mobile phone network has now given every business a fast connection they can use to reach potential new customers via their mobile phone handset. Networking is now possible and can deliver high quality web pages to the latest smartphones. Exploiting this new commercial environment means your online business must build into its website design, content that can be easily accessed by customers using a computer or their mobile phone.

One Website for All

With the advent of large screen handsets like the Apple iPhone and the models from HTC and Samsung, it is now possible for your customers to browse your existing website on their mobile phone. You could, therefore, just maintain your existing website, but the vast majority of your potential customers may not have large screen phones and can therefore, not access your website.

If your online business sells good or services that naturally lend themselves to be sold over the mobile phone network, it’s a good commercial move to design a new website just for mobile phone users.

Hand-held Web

The designers that built the website for your online business will be able to give you advice about how you can use your site’s existing content and repurpose this for M-commerce. You may find, however, that you will need to build a new website optimised for the M-commerce sales channel. Talk to your design agency as they will have the technical knowledge you need to make your mobile website a success. Designing for the mobile phone platform requires a specific set of technical skills, so ensure you see some live examples of work your design agency has completed before you commission them to build your new M-commerce site.

DIY M-commerce

If you would like to build your own website for the mobile phone market you can of course use the same tools you may have used to build your main website. The leading package is Dreamweaver. You can use this software to build your mobile phone website and start your networking activities. Alternatively, you can use online design tools to build a mobile ready website. The leader here is Wapple.

M-commerce Domain Names

Just as you registered a domain name for your online business, there is a top level domain just for websites created specifically for mobile phones. The .mobi domain has to be registered just like any other domain name. Registration of your .mobi domain name is handled by registrars appointed by the ICANN that govern domain names. You can read more about the .mobi domain and what this means for your online business on a dedicated website: http://mtld.mobi.

Is M-commerce for You?

Not all online businesses have goods or services that can be easily sold over the mobile phone networks. Think carefully about what your online business offers. Some mobile phone users can simply access your normal website if they have a handset that is capable of displaying ordinary web pages. More handsets like this are coming onto the market, but M-commerce at the moment means dealing with small, low resolution screens that limit what your online business can offer consumers in this new retail sector.

If your business’s goods or services are a good fit with the mobile networking market, then created a dedicated website with the .mobi suffix is certainly a good investment for the future. If your business doesn’t have goods or services that can be easily sold via a mobile phone, then simply registering your existing website’s domain name with the .mobi suffix is still a good idea as you may need this in the not too distant future as your online business expands and evolves into new markets.

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