Virtual Goods Can Help Mobile Commerce Grow
It was widely reported that last Monday was the biggest day ever in online retail. A billion dollars is a tremendous amount of value. It made us wonder: how much of that billion is mobile sales?
Probably not a lot. Most online retailers are just figuring out the need for a mobile-optimized store (see our quick analysis here) which is a pre-requisite for investing resources into advertising and optimization. It's very likely that on that day, virtual goods & apps outsold real merchandise on mobile.
There are several reasons why virtual goods & apps sell so well. First, they've got instant gratification -a purchase has an immediate benefit (such as additional gameplay advantage). Secondly, it's a true one-click purchase- compare that to a typical process of entering credit card details & shipping information to buy a "real" item. Lack of reference value or third-party alternativesmakes it easier to make guilt-free purchases (can't buy those Nobility points at Costco - not yet, anyway).
Mobile commerce will gradually adapt the best practices of the virtual goods business.Perhaps, buying a real t-shirt will give you two virtual ones to give to Facebook friends as gifts - instantly, as the item finds its way to your doorstep. Payment information will be either securely stored or transmitted over NFC. Apple will make it easy for iAds to promote mobile stores, helping developers make more money from ads. And maybe, just maybe, we'll see the first billion day for mobile commerce in the next five years.