Mobile commerce requires sound product information for success.


“Tiny Internet” has big potential for consumer and business markets.

We just got back from a wonderful family vacation with our three daughters and their SOs.  During the visit, our eldest used a funny expression to describe her husband’s smartphone.  She calls it his “tiny Internet.”  Whenever he needs to know something or check on something or order something, he whips out his “tiny Internet” and everything is right at hand.

Group of "tiny Internets" (Photo: gillyberlin from Wikimedia Commons)He wasn’t the only member of the family who needed to stay connected with work.  During that same vacation, I interviewed an e-commerce executive with an industrial manufacturer about his company’s vision for product information management.

Part of the vision encompasses the “tiny Internet,” or at least a “mid-sized Internet.” He described a concept he called “service in the trench.”  A contractor is in a ditch, realizes he’s missing a part, whips out his tablet, and puts in the order.

This executive also sees his internal sales force and independent reps using their tablets on sales calls to provide customers with immediate access to current, authoritative information about their products to help close the deal. “When our customers order our products, I want them to get what they need and expect,” he said

I’ve written before about IDC’s concept of “omnichannel commerce,” in which mobile technologies are immersing consumer and business customers in opportunities to shop, source, and purchase merchandise.  This new dynamic is empowering customer and vendor alike, on both sides of the sales relationship.

Tech-savvy customers can help themselves by pulling out their mobile device and putting in their own orders.  Old school customers can get better service when their sales reps are armed with a tablet and the latest pricing and product information drawn directly from the source.  These scenarios apply in both consumer and industrial markets.

The key to success in these scenarios is using a central source of reliable product information to fuel all your marketing media and sales channels. Whether your customers use the “tiny Internet” (smartphone), mid-sized Internet (tablet), large Internet (laptop or desktop), or no Internet at all (print catalog), all your product content should come from the same, canonical source.

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