Ecommerce Making Same Mistake Over and Over, But MOBILE Changes All
When we moved our brochures online it was clear how inadequate such a move was. Content that looked great in print seemed flat and uninspiring in the closed space of a website. It was as if print's borders were easier to understand than the web's.

Of course it was easier to understand print after creating vast amounts of print for fifty years. Who is the David Ogilvy of the web? Who is the Same Walton of #ecommerce ?

Jeff Bezos is our Sam Walton and +Seth Godin may be our David Ogilvy. If our IM heroes seem different it is because they are (lol). Ecommerce is making the same mistake we've made before.

When we moved brochures to the web they seemed flat and uninspired. When we added commerce it too seemed strange and out of place. How could we buy in such a flat and non-tactile world? How could we try things on, know look and feel, have a "shopping" experience.

We made due and cobbled together systems to help make up for some #ecom deficiencies  including:

* Great photography.
* Zoom and rotate tools.
* Video.
* Customer Reviews.
* Copy.

Honestly we NEVER perfected the online shopping experience. Most online stores convert between 3% and 6% of their traffic. I attribute this mass inefficiency to a variety of factors in the WAY we executed commerce on the web including:

* Lowest Common Denominator Design.
* 80/20 Merchandising.
* Being tone deaf.

Lowest Common Denominator Design
When we began to create websites any design was bad in some direction. If you used the wrong font it look horrible on browsers other than IE or it looked bad on IE. If your images were large webpages slowed down. If you made too many Java calls they might fight among each other and pull your site all the way down.

We optimized our online stores for "lowest common denominators" trying to make things look as good as possible when there weren't many good choices. Early results, given those limitations, were amazing.

Problem is "lowest common denominator" thinking continues to exist even as we move into the whole new world of #mcommerce (mobile commerce). Mobile has little to nothing to do with lowest common denominator thinking or our previous ecom limitations.

Mobile is a whole new world.

Mobile doesn't create "pages". Mobile creates kernals, small Lego-like objects (code) that perform tasks or actions. The reason #mobilefirst is an important #design movement is mobile changes everything from how we imagine information to how we publish and communicate.

Why do we take such a Disneyland of possibility and apply "lowest common denominator" thinking? This is what we do. We  approach the VERY new THING as if it had some relationship to the last thing.

For a time we make the new thing dress and act like the old thing. This "restrictive stage" is where we are in with mobile commerce now. We are glad our websites don't look horrible on either major platform (Apple, Android) and are thankful for the small group of customers willing to brave their phone's keyboards to actually buy as we think the mobile revolution will happen sometime later, at some other time.

Not so much. The mobile revolution is happening now.

The importance of mobile commerce is not about how much money your website made from mobile devices. Mobile has little to almost nothing to do with PHONES. Mobile is about how information will be stored, communicated, manipulated and "purchased".

Phones are a problem because phones make it appear as if "mobile commerce" is about phones. Phones are stupid. The mobile revolution is about the genius of "appification" and soon we will be widgetizing and appifying any and everything.

This tendency to relate to THE NEW as if it were THE OLD was dangerous when we did it the first time as we moved from brochures to commerce. Our insistence on limiting mobile is a rolling disaster now. Mobile is a tsunami. We are on the beach, water is out and we are wondering why fish are flopping. Fish flop because a monster wave is coming.

We won't be able to surf this wave with any board we've ever used. We surf this one by re-thinking how to surf, what surfing is and the new tactics and strategies needed to not drown. If using lowest common denominator thinking is one BIG problem with how we approach mobile today then underestimating the RETHINK needed to "not drown" is another.

Not drowning is inadequate. We take the magic of pads and swiping phones and lock it up. "Magic, who needs that," we seem to ask as we ask our customers to sacrifice again. "Please don't mind that our mobile functionality makes our website look good," was apologize as we continue not to see the real problem.


We are the problem because we don't insist on the big RETHINK. We are the problem because we accept lowest common denominator non-magical thinking as M Commerce.

Not so much.

Mobile commerce can and will be magical. It may take a new generation of imagineers to design a true "mobile first" commerce experience. Can mobile overcome some of the ecommerce limitations we know so well from laptops and desktops? Maybe, but overcoming faults that exist more in US and our lack of imagination seems like a poor mission from jump. Let's get our imagination to press the boundaries of what a "mobile revolution" means.

Perhaps a better mission is to start with the customer experience and work backwards. How can a customer "feel" a dress or "try on" a pair of shoes. The linked post discusses #AI (Artificial Intelligence) as the pillars needed for a new commerce. AI feels intriguing and interesting and possible just like Mobile commerce.
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