New York startup bMobilized has launched a standalone mobile commerce offering designed to help small and midsized businesses (SMBs) build online stores faster. The company said that SMBs will be able to deploy the Web-creation tools in less than 10 minutes and that they will be free for all businesses while in beta.
SMBs can build a custom mobile store that works like an app and runs on any mobile operating system, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10. The mobile site-creation tools are easy to use so that no technical or design skills are needed, according to the company.
bMobilized designed the m-commerce tools so anyone could build a mobile store from scratch in minutes. Users can add product images and descriptions, and choose from a list of accepted currencies, shipping options and payment methods. There are no limitations on the number of items listed, and there are no transaction fees.
Powered by jQuery Mobile, other key features of the mobile store include a shopping cart, product search and multiple-payment methods such as Amazon Payments, PayPal, credit cards and soon Google Wallet.
This turn-key solution is valuable for "the millions of businesses that currently do not offer their customers the capability to transact on their mobile devices," Bjorn Holte, founder of bMobilized, said in a statement. "Just this week, Gartner predicted that mobile payment transactions worldwide are on pace to hit $235.4 billion in 2013, up 44 percent from the $163.1 billion in 2012."
The Gartner report also finds that the number of mobile payment users worldwide will reach 245.2 million in 2013, up from 200.8 million in 2012. Money transfers and merchandise purchases will account for about 71 percent and 21 percent of total transaction value in 2013, said Gartner.
"The huge increase in mobile shoppers in the last few years means that businesses have to adapt quickly," Ben Seslija, CEO of bMobilized, said in a statement. "With our m-commerce solution, we aim to make it easy for any business to capitalize on the opportunity and stay relevant in a world that's becoming more mobile by the day."
A mobile online store is essential if SMBs want to compete with the big guys, said bMobilized. In the U.S., more than half of online buyers will make a purchase on a mobile device, spending $38.8 billion in 2013, according to eMarketer. Forecast to increase steadily over the next four years, spending will reach $108 billion by 2017.
A joint survey released by Appcelerator and IDC last year supports the growing trend of online store development. The survey reveals that more than 90 percent of developers expect a surge in mobile commerce, with most retail companies offering a mobile commerce experience in 2013.