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Waitrose enters M-commerce market

06 August 2010 - 08:45 by Paul Tissington

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High street supermarket chain Waitrose has announced that it is expanding its business into the world of m-commerce with an exclusive iPhone application and a mobile website tailored to busy UK consumers.

Like its competitors, Waitrose decided to begin conducting business via mobiles because it had noted a marked increase in traffic driven to its main website from smartphones. The Waitrose brand is typically associated with a more affluent audience and so building an iPhone app is a sensible step as owners of Apple products typically have more disposable income.

Waitrose has established itself as a popular presence online with its desktop-oriented retail site and its partnerships with high profile TV chefs such as Heston Blumenthal and Delia Smith. It is intending to bring these celebrity names to its iPhone app, giving users access to recipes and hints from top chefs while letting customers know about deals which are available in its stores.

The supermarket chain has decided to add some location-based functionality to the iPhone app, giving users and easy way to find out where their nearest Waitrose outlet is by using the smartphones. Once they have located the store they can also get information such as opening times and contact information.

Waitrose's Nick Marley explained that the firm was keen to keep in touch with the needs of its customers and hoped that by dipping its toes into m-commerce it would be able to interact with and get feedback from users that choose safe shopping online rather than high street retail.

Although the iPhone app and the mobile site are only informative for the time being, with no actual ability to make purchases, Mr Marley said that expanding the m-commerce experience was a key goal for Waitrose and it could well bring new capabilities to mobile users, such as safe shopping online, in the near future.