The phrase Mobile Commerce was originally coined in 1997, to mean “the delivery of electronic commerce capabilities directly into the consumer’s hand, anywhere, via wireless technology.” Many choose to think of Mobile Commerce as meaning “a retail outlet in your customer’s pocket.”
According to BI Intelligence in January 2013, 29% of mobile users have now made a purchase with their phones. Walmart estimated that 40% of all visits to their internet shopping site in December 2012 were from a mobile device. Bank of America predicts $67.1 billion in purchases will be made from mobile devices by European and U.S. shoppers in 2015. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_commerce)
As of today, there are two possible approaches one can take to expanding the store visibility on mobile platforms: a mobile template and a mobile app. Their followers still argue which one is more profitable. But we will ignore these debates in a review.
The first sufficiently complete Magento m-commerce applications development guide I was familiarized with was Nickolay Tischenko’s presentation. For quite a long time, however, this presentation and the Magento Mobile page on Magentocommerce were the only tutorials on Magento Mobile plug-in , which, starting from 1.5 CE (1.10 EE), is a part of the edition. It was a gap that «Magento Mobile How-to» by Darko Goleš has filled.
Amazingly, this book is really a how-to. And do not confuse a good Magento and mobile apps how-to book to be easily written. As the author says in the preface, «This book is mainly aimed at merchants – Magento store owners, but also for developers and other curious readers, as it does not require any special knowledge about programming and Magento». I would just add: this book will help any Magento newbie develop a mobile app within the shortest possible time.
Chapter names of «Magento Mobile How-to» fully illustrate how detailed the description of the development process is:
- Installing and configuring Magento Mobile Admin Panel
- Getting acquainted with Magento Mobile Admin Panel
- reating a separate Store View for mobile application
- Configuring mobile themes for our Magento Mobile Store View
- Preparing and updating product category thumbnail images for mobiles
- Preparing your icons, logos, and other images for mobile applications
- Updating an application’s copyright information
- Creating and configuring a basic mobile application
- Styling your mobile application
- Adding static content
- Configuring payment methods
- Configuring social networks integration
- Configuring the Push notification feature
- Installing and using the Magento Mobile previewer app
- Enrolling into the iOS Developer Program
- Enrolling into the Android Developer program
- Application submission to Magento Mobile
- Application resubmission and monitoring progress
- Push notification messages administration
All the chapters can be grouped into three levels of complexity:
– Must know — the main steps of the application creation and publication
– Should know — actions to customize the application easily
– Become an expert — an additional functionality to create a truly unique application, monitoring, sharing and push-notifications.
These levels are, however, quite relative. They are more intended to guide readers through the content. You can be sure that «Must know» and «Become an expert» parts are equally detailed and clear; there is no chance that you’ll cry out something like «This part is a real rocket science!»
I cannot but mention how the materials are delivered. Every step is illustrated (you remember we’re talking about the how-to, written exactly the way it should be). Except for illustrations and descriptions of configuration variants, every step is accompanied by a brief explanation of how it works in Magento. If you have never created a Store View, changed a category image or added an address of your store and a copyright, there will be no confusion: the author will clarify all the infinite checkboxes and input fields.
Is this book worth reading? Yes. Beginners will easily understand how to make the store easy-to-use for the mobile customers. Experts will appreciate how push-notifications and social networks integration in mobile apps are explained.