What I feel is a crucial step before we see real direct mobile shopping is the growing use of mobile when shopping traditionally as men look to be leading the way in that regard according to InsightExpress.
In the InsightExpress July Mobile Shopping report they identify men in the 25-34 year old age group prone to directly using smartphone features such as reviews, taking pictures & comparison shopping before purchasing while women are more inclined to directly call friends for their opinion.
The first phase I feel in what I call the mobile to shop movement are coupons you either receive directly or can display from your mobile device all the while helping men avoid the Costanza wallet.
These mobile coupons according to the report are getting on average a 10% conversion rate in getting people to the stores & double that for the male 25-34 demographic.
The next phase of “mobile to shop” are using location services such as FourSquare plus setting up your site for mobile & optimizing for local search which on mobile phones is critical when search engines are primarily used for finding and going.
In the recent Compete Q1 2010 Smartphone Intelligence survey they identified “nearly one in three smartphone owners has called or stopped into a local business after finding it using a local search application” & “close to a third of Android and iPhone owners discovered at least two new businesses that they were not previously aware of as a result of using local search applications.”
This “mobile to shop” movement actually provides brick & mortar stores a 2nd wind advantage over online stores if they can price and market effectively before people become so comfortable that they start purchasing directly from their mobile device.