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One of UK’s leading retailers projected that this Christmas, one in five orders for their products would be done on a smartphone. That’s amazing – for an industry that was slow to get into mobile, this forecast shows just how far things have come. The retailer in question here is Tesco and their virtual store actually looks pretty cool.

It makes sense, especially when I look at how natural it is now for me to order something from the Internet that mobile is the next logical step. I must confess that I have already used my iPad to order McDonalds on the way home from the airport for the kids and myself, so I guess I am already doing mobile commerce.

Of course, it is not the retailers that have driven this adoption, but is it us – the consumers. As much as we do not mind queuing behind 10 people, whom all seem to be paying with a credit/debit card that requires 10 seconds to process, and another 10 seconds for that person to pick up a pen and sign, or ‘remember’ their pin, the idea of ordering and picking up the product without this process certainly appeals more to me. If you combine that with the ‘nightmare’ of Christmas shopping, then I can see why people would want to order and pay using their mobile phones instead. I would too.

Undeniably, the ability to place an order through my mobile phone is a good step in the right direction of mobile commerce for retailers, but it is not a full offering. For me, it is not only about ordering, but getting a discount coupon, accumulating loyalty points and then paying for the said items on my phone. To top all that, if I could get it delivered as well, then it completes the whole buying experience.

I wonder if retail outlets will become nothing more than a place for you to view the products in real life, assuming the virtual experience is not good enough for you.

While online shopping has come along in leaps and bounds, I think that mobile shopping will develop even faster. I am now placing most of my ‘online’ orders through my iPad, so this is mobile shopping to me for now.

Retailers need to embrace this technology, and as I said, add more value to consumers like me, than just a place or channel to view the items. Give me details on the special deals or sales for that day before I get to the store, and which store is offering what promotions.

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