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M-Commerce in 2012: The Future of Shopping .

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Here are my predictions for 2012: mobile commerce will dominate online spend; multi-channel behaviour will be an even more important factor for brands to monitor and online shopping will actually help attract customers to the high street.

Here are my predictions for 2012: mobile commerce will dominate online spend; multi-channel behaviour will be an even more important factor for brands to monitor and online shopping will actually help attract customers to the high street.

According to a recent survey by Motorola, almost half of the respondents in the US confirm that using a mobile 'improved their offline experience'. The trouble is many shoppers, including me, research deals and if the favoured store doesn't have the best one, the tendency to look elsewhere is high. Brands are urged to take advantage of this multi-channel behaviour to ensure their customers go from browsers to purchasers.

Where We Are Now with M-Commerce?

The Centre of Retail Research estimates that more than one in ten shoppers will purchase items through mobile phones this Christmas. Online sales have risen significantly this year, especially as it the first year that mobile commerce has been widely adapted. With the prediction that one in five gifts will be bought online this holiday, it is no wonder brands are in a rush to accommodate this massive response. While mobile commerce, or m-commerce, is still a minor part of the e-commerce market, the rise in smartphones and tablet purchases has been a strong contributor to the future of retail and multi-channel behaviour of customers. According to eMarketer, it is estimated that m-commerce sales will reach almost $7 million in 2011. Brands like eBay, which opened a pop-up shop in the UK last week, have used the increase of smartphones and mobile commerce to a major advantage. The shop had no tills and very little stock, but if a customer was interested in an item displayed, all they had to do was whip out their smartphone and scan the QR code. Other brands should take note: 2012 will see more multi-channel shopping being made available. Multi-channel behaviour is a factor brands should definitely consider, but very few currently do. Research done by Deloitte found that around 20 per cent of the value of general retail sales will be multi-channel this month. Another factor to consider is how social media plays a part in this behaviour during the research and purchasing phases. Just over half of multichannel shoppers use social networks as part of their research before purchasing says Ian Geddes, head of UK retail for Deloitte.

Where we are headed with M-Commerce?

AT&T's vice president of advanced mobility solutions Chris Hill said: "With the growing popularity of smartphones and the increasing dependence on mobile devices, it's only natural that marketing executives want to turn up the volume on their mobile strategies next year." One executive who has taken advantage already is Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter. His start-up company, Square, has the whole industry buzzing about the future or m-commerce. Through the invention of a small square that connects to your smartphone, shoppers are provided with their own personal till where you can swipe your credit card. Square sees profits of $11 million each day – which brand wouldn't want a slice of that? Google Wallet, a virtual 'wallet' that stores payment information in your phone and online, appears to be the path m-commerce is headed down. It uses a technology called Near Field Communication (NFC) that allows two devices to transmit data using radio communication. Ultimately this advancement will act like a contactless payment card. Along with fears of security, this has some retailers worried about the further demise of the in-store transaction and high street store.

What about the physical stores?

Alongside the excitement for brands on the extensive adaptation of mobile shopping is the fear that the high street in the UK and stores across the world will eventually become showrooms for their online counterparts. Rather than the glass being half empty, brands are advised to take the opposite approach. Mobile owners are still shopping in store - according to US-based Briabe Media, half of the consumers in America have previously used a smartphone to obtain product information while in the store. Mobile commerce should not be about one or the other; the two should complement and mirror each other to create the ultimate experience for shoppers. Where do you think m-commerce will lead brands in 2012? Let me know below or on Twitter - @YorkshireTexan