Top 10 Biggest Splashes in Mobile Commerce


Image of the popular app Angry Birds via Expresswireslessct

1. Apps
As Andrew Dowell wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “in 2010, the computer truly went mobile.” More people than ever before bought smart phones — a reported 269.6 million were sold in 2010. In April, Apple launched the iPad — and businesses rushed to develop programs for the new platform. It’s estimated that apps for both tablets and phones will garner $6.7 billion in sales this year.

2. PayPal Streamlines Mobile Commerce With “Express”
Mobile users know that ease of purchase is incredibly important when shopping on their phones. PayPal, well aware of this, recently introduced Mobile Express–a system “designed to minimize the steps required for customers to complete a purchase on their mobile phones.” Beta testers of the two-click process have, according to Mashable, “reported double-digit sales growth on their mobile stores since adding the feature.”

Screengrab via Fashism

3. Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher Invest in Fashism
Fashism, a site that makes it easy for users to get instant feedback on their outfits, got a influx of cash this year from a group of angel investors including the celebrity couple. TV-famous fashion editor Nina Garcia also chipped in; Kutcher will sit on the startup’s board of directors while retailer Steven Alan will serve as an adviser.

4. Gilt Groupe’s Flash Sales Hit the iPad
Gilt Groupe, a pioneer in the flash sale market, continued to innovate with an iPad application released in April–one of the first debuted by a retailer. Two days after the application launched it was generating 3% of Gilt’s sales.

5. eBay Makes Comparison Buying Easy
eBay is a mobile success story, selling “230 million dollars” worth of goods via phones this holiday season and estimating yearly mobile sales of $1.5 billion. Its RedLaser app now let users comparison shop by scanning barcodes to see where the product is stocked nearby, and at what price.

6. Groupon Goes Hyper-Local
After turning down a $6 billion dollar buyout offer from Google, rapidly-expanding deal site Groupon has partnered with JiWire. The collaboration will allow Groupon to target users by neighborhood, serving up mobile ads very specifically tailored to their location.

7. Target’s All-Around Excellence
Target was voted Mobile Retailer of 2010 by trade publication Mobile Commerce Daily. The chain has incorporated gift registries, coupons, and more into its mobile apps and offers daily text alerts about sales.

Foursquare’s founders pose for a Gap ad. Image via Fast Company

8. Foursquare Deals Encourage In-Store Foot Traffic
When social mobile networking app Foursquare launched in 2009, much of its user activity was focused on bars and restaurants–and those businesses were quick to add “check in” rewards and incentives like discounts and freebies. In 2010, retailers began taking advantage of the gaming-based app’s audience. Gap now offers a 25% discount with check in at any store and Loft hands out 15% savings with every check in while mayors can take 25% off purchases.

9. Square Enables Anyone To Take Credit Card Payments
Created by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Square is a dongle that, when plugged into a smartphone, enables peer-to-peer credit card transactions. The product launched in beta in December of 2009 — but it wasn’t available to the general public until May 2010.

10. Mobile Holiday Sales Surpass Expectations
This season, more shoppers than ever before bought via their phones, helping to contribute to impressive holiday numbers–over $584 billion in sales total. The New York Times reports that 5% of online holiday purchases were made by phone this year.