What do the model T, hula hoops and computer online shopping have in common? Answer: They are all yesterday's news. Still opening your laptop to make an online purchase? Beware, soon you could be egregiously mocked by those same vicious scalawags who found you jogging with along with your Sony Walkman. Here's a fact that should open some eyes: in 2013, as recently reported by comScore Inc., exactly one third of consumers made retail purchases via their smartphones, an increase that is off the charts (the Republican Party would kill for such momentum). Only this isn't politics, it's something far more serious: it's shopping (watch the news during Thanksgiving to discover what's more important).

We all knew mobile devices were going to play a key role in e-commerce, but I was taken aback at just how fast. Simply put: in a few years most retail shopping will be done in the palm of your hand. Are you ready to join this revolution, or are you a Shoppamus Dinosaurus? This is defined as a person who is stuck in a rut utilizing old-fashioned, slower, laborious and less convenient shopping methodologies that include older technological devices such as a desktop or laptop computer and web browser. If the latter, fear not; there are groups available to help your get over this bad habit! But while you lament over the pace of change remember your e-commerce company must accommodate this paradigm or risk losing to the competition.

Accommodating this consumer revolution actually starts from within. Do you shop from your smartphone? I believe the biggest obstacles are age, attitude and technology, but all of these factors can easily be overcome. Rather than shun technological progress like most people my age, I embrace it and you can too. Recently, I tried to buy something for the first time with my smartphone. At first it wasn't easy, but after upgrading to a new Galaxy S4, I quickly realized why so many others do. For example, now I can simply speak a shopping command such as, "OK Google, I want to buy Iron Man 3 in 3D from Amazon." Within seconds Iron Man 3 appears, I simply add it to the cart and check out with Amazon Prime and one click. Two days later I'm living vicariously through Robert Downey Jr. Nothing will stop this momentum. If you prefer not to use voice, there are mobile apps that simplify mobile shopping. You can find these easily in your smartphone app store.

So now that it's getting easier, more and more people will be shopping from their mobile devices and that means it's more important than ever to ensure your e-commerce company's products and services are easily accessible to this new type of consumer.

The big problem that has yet to be resolved, however, is returns. The current process to return items with a mobile device is cumbersome and therefore represents a problem for e-commerce. The fact of the matter is, returns haven't kept up with the simplicity and speed of buying on mobile devices because most of the effort is geared toward making the sale, not taking it back. I'm hoping that will change soon and merchants will make the return experience as easy as making the purchase. In fact this has become a personal goal along with the conversion to e-packing slips. There are a great deal of environmental benefits to doing this plus it saves companies money and helps increase consumer loyalty.

So if you want to join the mobile shopping (and returning) revolution and stop being a Shoppamus Dinosaurus, an investment in technology along with the right attitude is all you need (or support group if this doesn't work). For e-commerce stores, making it as easy as possible for consumers to buy (and return) your product from a smartphone is now mission critical. I hope this article helps make it easier for you to shop, return, Ship Better and Save Money!

Jim LeRose has been a transportation industry consultant for three decades. Formerly with Pitney Bowes Distribution Solutions, Jim is now Principal of Agile Network, North America's leading provider of multi-carrier shipping software and transportation cost reduction strategies. Jim is also CEO/Founder of EcoReturn.com. Contact Jim at jim.lerose@agile-network.com or 888.214.1763. Visit www.agile-network.com for more information.