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.

Virtual Goods

Virtual Goods

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 alternatives
makes 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.

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