I am a consumer. My family consumes. Everyone I know consumes. The world is a mass market of consumers, 6.9 billion people who will potentially buy stuff.

If I told you that there is £69bn in the UK and $43bn in the U.S. up for grabs this Christmastime, and that 52.6% of people who own a smartphone will use it to research and purchase holiday related gifts and items this year, you would want your company to be right up there as a great place to shop. The question is, will you be? Statistics say, probably not.

A whopping 76% of high street retailers still don’t have either a mobile site or one that is optimised with mobile content. A bit surprising, perhaps?  If a company hasn’t got to grips with mobile as a key sales channel, then how do they plan to get their share of the £69bn holiday pie, or part of any of the other key periods?

Payment methods and mobile security have come on leaps and bounds, so it’s safe and puts that argument for not doing it in the dustbin. By the end of 2012 there will be more mobile phones than people on the planet. It seems obvious that if 52.6% of shoppers right now want a good mobile shopping experience from you, it’s definitely the time to provide it. Mobile is today’s low-hanging fruit and yet companies are still sitting back.

Never underestimate the consumer. 93% of consumers polled have purchased products online, with 49% doing so during the last 30 days. Consumers in Germany, South Korea and the U.K. were the highest for making online product purchases (98%) followed closely by Japan (96%). In Canada, where online shopping is least prevalent, more than four out of five (82%) reported having bought goods online. (Source: Pitney Bowes; Pitney Bowes Global Online Shopping Survey, 2011)

For the 76% of high street retailers who are not providing an experience or the convenience consumers want, perhaps a few examples of a great mobile shopping experience will inspire you? Don’t be distracted by some are U.S. examples, the consumer experience is the key, not where the company is located.

Homewares:   Crate and Barrelhttp://mobile.usablenet.com/mt/www.crateandbarrel.com
From the home page you can quickly navigate to anywhere you want to: Search, Shop by Ideas, by Product Type, see the Key Offer Message, Access your Account, Order Tracking, Catalogues, International Orders, etc. It’s all on the very first page… no hunting, no mystery.

Go a bit further into the site and you will see an excellent Product Results page; it’s really usable, friendly to look at and tells you upfront what has free shipping.

Pick an item and you’ll see meaningful Inventory Messages and real Product Reviews . Everything is there and yet is easy to use, well organised and uncluttered. Add to your Gift or Wishlists or Email a Friend right there and then. They have made the experience simple and enjoyable.

Consumer Electronics:  Best Buy Mobilehttp://m.bestbuy.com/m/b/

Electronics retailers (and wholesalers for that matter) are notorious for providing unwieldy and unfriendly user experiences, but Best Buy has managed to make their mobile experience simple and easy to navigate. It actually makes you want to stay on the site and check out products. It also benefits from probably one of the easiest checkout processes around. Very much worth noting! The checkout is no place to lose a sale. For electronics, I would say this is a best-of-class of example of a mobile site.

Apparel:  Fossil Mobile – http://mobile.usablenet.com/mt/www.fossil.com

Fossil have created a slick, clear and easy way to navigate their huge catalogue on a mobile device. It’s super easy to access all of the functions you might need – from Managing your Account, Tracking your Order, Customer Care information and more. It’s a very well organized and fast mobile site that’s a pleasure to use.

My advice is stop over-thinking your job, and take action on the solid facts in front of you. Think about yourself as a consumer, what experience you like, what your family and friends like, because in the end, we are all consumers. I know you have a smartphone and you like to use it. So do I, and I want to shop.

Other recent blogs:

http://multichannel-retailing.com/2011/07/can-social-commerce-boost-the-high-street/

http://multichannel-retailing.com/2011/09/social-data-and-marketing-making-it-better-for-consumers/