It may not get here in time for the holidays, but IBM is betting that next year mobile computing devices and social networks are going to play a much bigger role in driving e-commerce transactions.
IBM Websphere Commerce 7 will now recognize various smartphones and automatically tailor the presentation of the e-commerce application to meet the capabilities of that device. In addition, IBM is making available an IBM Mobile Starter Store that IT organizations can use to deploy mobile e-commerce application quickly.
IBM is also making it easier to embed content directly into the presentation being viewed on a mobile device by the inclusion of support for widgets that can link the device directly to content such as a product review on a particular social network. Websphere Commerce 7 can also keep track of what type of content is being consumed by a particular mobile device, thereby allowing the e-commerce site to make similar content more readily available to that customer.
In addition, IBM has also added support for a 'Buy on Mobile, Pick Up in Store' capability that will allow customers buying a product online to pick it up at the nearest physical location.
Finally, IBM has also added additional features to support transactions across multiple vendor sites such as a new product finder implementation, mini shopping carts, drag-and-drop capabilities and the ability to manage multiple saved orders.
According to IBM, smartphones should be in the hands of about 17 percent to 25 percent of the overall population by the end of next year, which means that mobile e-commerce will finally reach critical mass. To service those requirements, IBM plans to spend $100 million over the next five years on research and development in this category.