The Importance of Mobile Commerce for Retailers

Shopping on a Smartphone


by Bonnie McEwan  

Retail is Going Mobile

The latest trend in retailing is m-commerce, in which the ‘m’ stands for mobile. Increasingly, customers are making purchases directly from smart phones. According to Forrester Research, retail sales made on smart phones reached $8 billion in 2012, comprising 3% of total e-commerce sales. For 2013, Forrester predicts that smart phone sales will rise to $12 billion (5% of total e-commerce) and in 2014 $17 billion (6% of total e-commerce). By 2017, m-commerce is expected to account for $31 billion, about 9% of the entire e-commerce market.

Why is Mobile Going Global?

These m-commerce customers told the survey firm comScore that they buy with their smart phones for a variety of reasons. The top four were:

  • On-the-go convenience, cited by 63% of respondents
  • To get special offers and coupons — 52% of respondents
  • Ease of comparing prices to find best deal — 48% of respondents
  • Product was not found in a brick and mortar store — 41% of resondents

What Retailers Can Do About It

This preference for m-commerce has some significant implications for retailers:

  1. You must be sure that your website — in this situation, referred to as a mobile site — is optimized for the small screen, whose average size is about 2.5 x 3 inches.
  2. You should also offer free ‘apps’ — short for applications — for all the major smart phone operating systems. [An app is a small piece of software that is downloaded to a mobile device to facilitate online activities.] Pay special attention to developing a good app for Apple’s iOS, since iPhone owners do substantially more mobile shopping than owners of other brands.
  3. You may also want to investigate selling watches and other products via a virtual store within one or both of the two most heavily trafficked m-commerce sites, eBay and Amazon. Consider this: eBay receives 6,400 unique monthly visitors, each of whom visits the site an average of 7.5 times for an average of 10 minutes per visit. Amazon is close behind, with 5,824 unique monthly visitors, each of whom visits an average of 5.6 times per month and remains on the site for about10 minutes. Some major retailers sell on these sites, including Target on Amazon and Brookstone on eBay.
  4. If you sell retail from temporary locations, such as outdoor kiosks, pop-up stores or Christmas village shops, there are m-commerce products for your smart phone that make selling more convenient. For example, a company called Square makes a small device that attaches to your smart phone and enables it to take credit cards. There’s no need for card machines or electrical access. Just slide the customer’s card through the Square device. It will record the sale, send an electronic receipt to the customer’s phone and that’s it.


An interesting mobile development for watch retailers is the budding popularity of smart watches, which are predicted to be big for 2013 holiday gift-giving. Several brands are already on the market, although there aren’t many apps available at this point. You can read all about the new smart watches at SmartWatchNews.org, and perhaps be one of the first retailers to create an app for these novel devices. (Very Dick Tracy.)

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

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For Retailers, Amazon Can be a Real Jungle

Amazon Jungle


by Maggy Michaels Durrenberger  

Don’t be dazzled by Amazon’s customer base of 160 million or eBay’s claims of 233 million global customers. The third-party (3P) online sales environment is not for every retailer—or every product. Those who take the time to look over the terrain may just decide to cancel the safari.

Beware of Uncharted Territory

Navigating Amazon is not a simple matter. After a time-consuming and often complicated entry process, some products may fail to list. The larger the inventory, the tougher it will be to locate and fix the error. You will need to match your products to the “best” listings, select the “right” key words, and win the Holy Grail of Amazon—the little blue Buy Box that means the highest visibility, the most searches and the most sales. Amazon is mysterious about the variables leading to this prize but among them are positive seller standing, customer feedback, low price, consistent availability, high volume, low refund rates and low returns.

The Natives are Restless

While Amazon and eBay both operate large online marketplaces, Amazon became number one years ago—largely on the momentum of FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon), a service that stores and ships products and even handles customer service. Recent FBA changes are meeting with angry protests from Amazon sellers who say that sharp fee hikes cut deeply into their slim profit margins. The new FBA long-term storage policy is forcing some sellers to pay Amazon to destroy their year-old merchandise because Amazon would charge so much more to return it to them.

Major brands like Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Guess are furious about unauthorized 3P sellers on Amazon that are pricing their merchandise below the minimum set for the label. Even the “little guy” who periodically sells items on Amazon can end up screaming. If Amazon runs an automated check on a seller that generates a false-positive for fraud, the seller account is immediately closed without explanation—or recourse. eBay at least provides customer service contacts, online chat and email options for resolving such issues. Not so in the jungle of Amazon.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Join the conversation! Follow Gevril Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog digest.

eBay Rebrands Shopping.com

Shopping.com Online Retail


by John Sealander  

eBay Commerce Network isn’t just a new name for Shopping.com. It’s a whole new way to connect merchants and their customers.

eBayWhen online auction powerhouse eBay acquired the popular price comparison site Shopping.com in August 2005, people wondered if the two online shopping services would ever be connected. Now, after a major rebranding campaign in which Shopping.com was re-launched as eBay Commerce Network, the verdict is in.

The reinvented eBay Commerce Network has shifted its focus in an effort to provide more services to online publishers and merchants, increasing the likelihood that a customer will actually click-through to a merchant’s store. For everyday users, the new eBay Commerce Network is still a price comparison site, just like Shopping.com. The difference now is that merchants will have many more sales opportunities where they can reach out to qualified customers.

The New and Improved eBay Commerce Network

One of the biggest changes that merchants will notice is that search results produced by the newly launched eBay Commerce Network can now be shown elsewhere on the Internet, significantly increasing the likelihood of a successful transaction. Merchants will have access to all of eBay’s sophisticated transaction tools, including eBay’s popular PayPal checkout. The platform’s new API will provide publishers with real-time access to a host of eBay services, products, features, listings and merchants. Using new value based pricing algorithms; publishers will receive revenue according to the quality of traffic they send to merchants – rather than sheer quantity.

Shopping.com already serves more than 250 million consumers every month, and is accessible in the United States, France, Germany, Australia and the United Kingdom. With more effective incentives for merchants and publishers, the redesigned eBay Commerce Network has the potential to attract a whole new wave of active users. According to eBay Commerce Network General Manager Kristy Troup, the network has been set up to give 4,000 participating merchants access to sites with some 200 million monthly page views. Participants already include retail chains like Macy’s, Target, Best Buy, and Amazon.

The eBay Commerce Network charges retailers on a cost-per-click basis and has been optimized to help merchants effectively manage their CPC bids to produce the highest possible click-through rates and sales. “We’re investing in the network and committed to growing it,” says Kristy Troup. One thing is clear. Online commerce is here to stay and eBay’s renewed commitment to improving the online shopping experience will have major implications for publishers, merchants, and their customers.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog updates. Reader comments are welcome.

eBay Lowers Seller Fees

eBay Online Retail


by John Sealander  

Is eBay’s New Fee Structure Good for Sellers, or Just Good for eBay?

eBayIn an effort to compete more effectively with Amazon, eBay has made major changes to its fee structure, which the company announced recently in a new 2013 Spring Seller Release. Many sellers had complained in recent years that eBay fees had gotten quite complex and difficult to understand. In an effort to simplify the fee structure and reduce the basic upfront costs for most sellers, eBay will eliminate its category-based, tiered commission fee structure for non-store owners in favor of a flat across-the board commission. Starting May 1, sellers without a store subscription will receive up to 50 free listings per month for fixed price or auction items. When an item sells, sellers will now pay a flat 10 percent final value fee for items less than a maximum value of $250.

Companies with eBay Store Subscriptions will now get up to 2,500 free listings a month, with final value fees determined by category. Most fees under the new plan are anticipated to fall within the 4 to 9 percent range. This new fee structure is good news for sellers with items with a value of under $50. Sellers of more expensive items aren’t quite so lucky. Since eBay is abandoning its current tiered commission schedule in favor of a flat rate plan, the new fee structure will actually result in a fee increase for many high-value items.

For example, Shoes and Accessories currently have a Final Value Fee commission of 10% of the total amount of the sale for up to $50, but after that, the fee drops to 8% of the remaining balance up to $1,000, and then drops to 2% of the remaining balance over $1000. Under the new fees, the fee eBay collects will be a straight 10% of the total sale. This is not good news for online merchants selling high-value items like jewelry and watches and could result in these merchants moving more of their selling efforts to Amazon or other venues.

eBay’s Status Among Online Retailers

eBay spokesman Ryan Moore recently told JCK – Jewelry Industry News that “we believe the new pricing structure makes eBay the most competitively priced commerce platform in the U.S. today.” Many observers think the devil is in the details. While commissions will drop to between 7.2% and 9% on watches and jewelry for some storeowners, there is a $250 cap on these new rates. Rates will actually increase for higher priced items.

Some say the new eBay fee structure will drive away high quality sellers and turn the online auction marketplace into a haven for low-priced junk. Others say that the new simplified fees will bring many more sellers to the marketplace and will be good for everyone. Only time will tell who the ultimate winners will be. One thing is certain though. Online retailing will continue to adapt to new realities and changing conditions. With or without eBay, online retailing will continue to grow.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog updates. Reader comments are welcome.