The Magento team is pleased to announce the beta launch of Magento mobile, a new product that will allow Magento merchants to easily create branded, native storefront applications that are deeply integrated with Magento’s market-leading eCommerce platform. The product includes a new administrative manager (which we wrote about earlier this week), a native iPhone app that is fully customizable (colors, images, buttons, etc), and a service where Magento manages the submission and maintenance process for the iTunes App Store.
We’re witnessing a large shift online, where consumers are becoming more comfortable with using mobile devices to access the internet and purchase products. What we’re also seeing is that native apps are becoming the preferred way that consumers engage with brands and mobile storefronts. This makes sense since mobile-browser apps (WAPs) are often very slow and don’t offer the rich, compelling experiences that native apps do. What is also interesting is that Amazon and eBay have the largest share of total mobile-commerce revenues, and their native apps are just mobile versions of their web stores, with perhaps a couple native features sprinkled in. How effective is this approach? In 2009, eBay drove $500M in mobile revenues. In 2010, they project $1.5B. The era of mobile commerce has begun!
As big an opportunity as mobile is, merchants have difficulty moving forward for several reasons. First, creating tightly-integrated mobile + website experiences requires a tremendous amount of development, especially when you bring multiple mobile devices into the equation. Second, there is the cost to develop the native applications (and even find the resources), as well as the time and money to submit and support this application in the iTunes marketplace (and/or other marketplaces). If we estimate the costs of each of these items, the prices become so high that it is no wonder why so many brands are not yet taking advantage of this opportunity. We’re glad to announce that there is now another way.
Magento mobile includes:
1. A new admin manager, which will be bundled with Magento and distributed as a module for existing Magento installations. Magento mobile will be compatible with Community edition 1.3+, Enterprise 1.6+, and Professional 1.8+.
2. A fully-customizable iPhone application, which includes several best of breed features that users will love
3. A submission process that Magento manages for a store owner so that they can focus on their core business while we manage the complexity in the background for a low annual fee.
The North Face, will be launching the very first iPhone app “shop” powered by Magento mobile. The app will be available in early June in Sweden & the UK only. Here is a quick demo of the app while we were in Paris for the annual Bargento event.
PayPal is investing heavily in mobile-payments technology, and we’re pleased to announce that we’ve worked closely with PayPal to integrate their new product into Magento mobile. Merchants who already use PayPal will benefit by offering a native payment experience that drives higher conversations.
Seamless Storefront Integration
With the new Magento-mobile admin, you’ll bring the functional powerhouse of Magento eCommerce to your mobile commerce channel, including full integration with your store’s catalog, checkout, inventory, reporting, and much more!
Manage Multiple Devices
Easily manage multiple devices with a single installation. Coming later this year, easily extend your mobile presence to the iPad and Android devices.
Hassle Free Submissions
Supporting a native app can be time consuming and tedious, so we manage the submission & support lifecycle for one low monthly fee. We manage the complexity of mobile apps so you can focus on running your business!
Deploy new device-specific features and branded themes with just a few clicks. Quickly update the colors and appearance of your app with the new Magento mobile admin, even after customers have downloaded your app.
Engage Your Customers
If you want to build deeper relationships with your most profitable customers, smartphones are the way to do it. From geo-targeted push notifications to immersive native experiences, mobile apps unlock new opportunities that will take your business to the next level!
Low Cost of Ownership
Magento’s cost-efficient approach allows you to bring best-in-class mobile experience to your customers without the high price tag. Pay only for the features and devices you want while Magento handles the ongoing maintenance of your app in the iTunes marketplace.
There are limited number of spots available for the first release of this product, and anyone interested in joining the priority list can now sign up on the official Magento-mobile product page. Pricing at this time will only be shared with those who are selected for the limited release, and we will announce the full price list to the community shortly.
Moving forward, we plan to build a marketplace of extensions for each mobile device (e.g. digital coupons, augmented reality, etc.) using our successful eCommerce extension marketplace, Magento Connect, which essentially makes this product the world’s first ever mobile-commerce platform! We also plan to launch new apps for the iPad and Android devices later this year.