M-commerce opportunities

It has taken some time but mobile commerce finally feels ripe to take off and I personally think that there are tremendous opportunities for start-ups in this space. Over the past couple of months, I spent some time with my portfolio company KimaLabs on product opportunities in the m-commerce space and was really excited to see their new product TapBuy launch earlier this week. TapBuy is a mobile app and platform with a focus on creating a super-smooth mobile shopping experience as you have to enter your credit card / shipping information only once and can then use it across different stores (comparable to Amazon’s 1-click shopping experience).

But the TapBuy product really speaks to 2 larger opportunities for start-up entrepreneurs in the m-commerce space.

The first one is in building m-commerce infrastructure: in the same way that companies have figured out in the past year that the digital advertising infrastructure (ad serving, targeting / re-targeting) needs to be rebuilt for mobile as the existing web products are far from optimal for the mobile platform, m-commerce presents the same opportunity for the commerce vertical. The mobile check-out experience (that TapBuy focused on) is certainly one of the most broken pieces but there is clearly more new infrastructure to be built.

The second opportunity is around discovery: in the same way that news are now mostly consumed on mobile phones, commerce can also shift to mobile but requires a very different kind of shopping experience that is much more focused on discovery / serendipity than in a web environment (which is still largely driven by clear purchase intent / search). Tapdeals is a first attempt of KimaLabs for this problem in the deal space but again, this is still a mostly unserved area.

Looking forward to seeing more innovation in m-commerce in the upcoming years – it feels like very early days.

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