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Which mobile commerce channels will shake up the industry in 2011?

January 3, 2011

The Nokia 6216 Classic NFC phone

The Nokia 6216 Classic NFC phone

From mobile advertising and applications to social media and near field communication, many of the channels and trends that gained momentum in 2010 will have a huge impact on the mobile commerce ecosystem in 2011.

Heavyweights such as Target and eBay have found increasing success using mobile to help their bottom line, and increased consumer adoption of smartphones and other connected devices will increase the opportunities for retailers and merchants of all kinds. In addition, Facebook has a chance to make a splash in mobile commerce and payments due to its 500 million-plus member base.

Mobile Commerce Daily’s Dan Butcher interviewed Chetan Sharma, founder/president of Chetan Sharma Consulting, Seattle. Here is what he had to say:

How has mobile changed the game for retailers and merchants?
There was much more awareness in 2010 of how mobile can be transformative to retail business and marketing campaigns.

More than that, retailers are learning that they have to be in mobile to compete and survive longer term. They are also realizing that mobile is key to building loyalty and getting ROI from advertising.

What were the biggest trends and advancements in mobile commerce and payments over the course of 2010?
Most of the action was in applications and mobile advertising.

Players are starting to see the closed-loop nature of mobile—from first impression to sale. The progress made by eBay is a testament to that.

Retailers such as Target are pushing the boundaries of in-store and out-of-store engagement.

Consumers have become more aware of mobile devices as a utility for discovery, shopping and transaction.

Chetan Sharma is the founder and president of Chetan Sharma Consulting

Chetan Sharma is the founder and president of Chetan Sharma Consulting

A good percentage of all holiday transactions were touched by mobile in some fashion. Even high-ticket items such as cars are getting impacted by mobile.

Will the mobile wallet and contactless mobile payments at the POS via NFC/RFID finally become a reality in 2011, or will we have to wait until 2012?
The space will see lot of ecosystem-forming action in 2011 from major players and it will be interesting to see how it plays out between the financial guys, carriers and Internet heavyweights.

It takes a while to get all the pieces in place—devices with NFC have started to ship, consumer awareness will build up, and applications and services will start to show up next year.

The touchless experience of NFC, once pervasive, will greatly enhance commerce, advertising and payment ecosystems.

What predictions do you have for the mobile commerce/retail/payments ecosystem in 2011?
We will still be in the ecosystem-building phase in 2011 in North America. All major players will wrestle to get a good position in the space.

What matters most is scale and the players with millions of customer relationships have a better shot at transforming the ecosystem than upstarts.

One of the dark horses could be Facebook, which has immense reach and consumer engagement, and it can step up its mobile game to be a significant player in commerce and payments.

Final Take
Mr. Sharma on bnetTV

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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