The End User Experience: Fine Art Buyers Flock To mCommerce Platform Wondereur

Mobile commerce in all of its various iterations is a major driver of stronger than password authentication options for consumers. One of the more ambitious applications in mCommerce has to do with mobile money and pay-with-your-phone solutions for real life transactions, but the fact of the matter is that even with the possibility of more convenient and secure physical shopping options, the majority of mCommerce, and soon eCommerce in general, is done on a user’s smartphone or tablet.

In this comparison of methods you will inevitably find two competing retail spaces: the physical store and the Internet. What the online shopper gains in convenience, she inevitably loses in personal experience. This seems extra true when it comes to purchases meant to connect with the buyer on an emotional level. Sure, buying a Blu Ray or PS4 game from your tablet is superior in almost every way to going to a mall, but what about something bigger and better, like say, fine art?

At last night’s Google sponsored ideaBOOST event in Toronto, Ontario – a showcase of six companies trying to innovate in the disrupted entertainment industry – the first presenters seem to have successfully beaten out the traditional gallery in the mobile space with the Wondereur mobile app.


CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi interviews Wondereur co-founders Olivier Berger and Sophie Perceval after their 12 minute pitch at ideaBOOST.

Wondereur is a company dedicated to bringing the emotional experience of buying fine art to the mobile arena by offering a level of intimacy to its mCommerce platform that rivals, and in some ways bests the gallery going lifestyle. A free to subscribe and expertly designed magazine app, Wondereur presents mobile users with a new artist every two weeks and showcases them and their work through original photos, artist quotes and journalistic commentary.

“Users come back every ten days and stay on average 20 minutes (this is quite unique for an non-gaming app and especially a shop or a magazine),” says Wondereur co-founder Olivier Berger. “The retention rate is now around 85 percent.”

This is exceptional considering, as Berger points out, Wondereur is not a game. Olivier will tell you this is because of the app’s ability to faithfully recreate, and maybe even improve on the authentic art buying experience.

“We are getting increasing support from some of the top 500 art collectors in the world as they see that we are true to what it is to acquire art,” he says. “On the user side, we see it through the comments we receive by email or thru the Appstore where the same words are used over and over to describe their experience: they are touched by what they see, they feel immersed in the private sphere of another human being taking the risk of creation. We see it also by the time they spend on Wondereur week after week.”

During the 12 minute stage time Wondereur was allowed to pitch, Berger and co-founder Sophie Perceval announced a major new partner for the choice art buying app: MasterCard Priceless. This news corroborates Berger’s assertion that the audience is not only wanting a solution like Wondereur, but using it too. Regular readers will recognize MasterCard as a very visible supporter of mobile authentication standards as a member of both the FIDO Alliance and the Natural Security Alliance.

The success of Wondereur on its own, and the interest shown by MasterCard underlines a very important aspect of mCommerce, one that is often overlooked: end-user emotional experience. Low friction, strong authentication is a must for enabling the kind of transactions that Wondereur facilitates (a quick look at the Wondereur website will reveal prices ranging from $8 to well over $6,000), but just as important as convenience and peace of mind, especially when it comes to art, is how the possibility of a transaction is discovered.

Mobile identity is in many ways as much about proving who you are as it is about defining yourself. In Wondereur we see that the crossover in this respect is huge: mobile devices are used to authenticate the transactions we once used to identify ourselves. Who ever said that machines held no emotions?