Lately, you've likely come across discussions among online business entrepreneurs about a buzzword – mobile commerce, often abbreviated as m-commerce. You might be wondering: What is this term all about? What importance does it hold? And, most importantly, what are the valuable aspects of m-commerce? This article aims to address these queries by offering insights into industry definitions, benefits, and pertinent technologies, guiding you into the realm of m-commerce. Let’s dig in!
What is Mobile Commerce?
M-commerce, short for mobile commerce, encompasses the utilization of wireless handheld devices such as cell phones and tablets for online commercial transactions. This includes activities like buying and selling products, online banking, and bill payments. Positioned as a subset of electronic commerce, m-commerce facilitates users to access online shopping platforms without relying on a desktop computer.
Mobile commerce has experienced significant growth due to the resolution of security concerns and the widespread ownership of smartphones and tablets. As per Kings Research’s projections, the global mobile commerce market is set to record revenue of $1,251.25 billion by 2030. Various forms of m-commerce have emerged, including the ability to make purchases within mobile applications, conduct banking transactions on mobile devices, utilize virtual marketplace applications, and use digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Wallet.
M-commerce Vs. E-commerce
E-commerce, also known as electronic commerce, involves the exchange of goods and services through the Internet. While e-commerce and m-commerce share similarities, they differ in several ways. Let's take a closer look at some of these distinctions:
- Mobility: While e-commerce ties users to fixed desktop spots, limiting mobility, m-commerce breaks free. Conducted on handheld devices, it's accessible anywhere with an internet connection – be it on buses, trains, airplanes, or during gym workouts.
- Location tracking: E-commerce apps utilize location tracking, but it's limited to non-mobile devices, relying on broad IP address data. M-commerce, using Wi-Fi and GPS, provides precise location data, enabling personalized content. For instance, it can send targeted discounts to customers walking by a specific store in a mall.
- Security: While credit cards remain prevalent in nonmobile e-commerce, they pose higher risks despite security measures like multifactor authentication. M-commerce addresses security concerns with features such as biometric authentication, mobile wallets, QR codes, and cryptocurrencies, reducing vulnerabilities associated with credit card misuse.
- Reachability and convenience: M-commerce simplifies the process of targeting a specific group of individuals. Through the utilization of mobile applications, enterprises can expand their reach to a larger demographic and enhance the efficiency and expediency of the customers' purchasing journey.
Types of Mobile Commerce
In the realm of m-commerce, there is a diverse range of transactions, which can be classified into three primary categories:
1. Mobile shopping
Mobile commerce allows users to conveniently shop using their iPhones or Android devices. This type of shopping is made possible through mobile-friendly websites, dedicated shopping applications, and even popular social media platforms.
2. Mobile banking
Mobile banking is quite similar to online banking, but there may be certain transaction types that are restricted or limited when using mobile devices. Typically, mobile banking involves the use of a dedicated application, although some banks are now exploring the utilization of chatbots and messaging applications.
3. Mobile payments
Mobile payments serve as an alternative to conventional methods like cash, checks, and cards. They empower users to make in-person purchases using mobile devices. Digital wallets like Apple Pay eliminate the need for card swiping or cash payments. Popular mobile payment apps such as PayPal, Venmo, and Xoom offer similar functionality. QR codes are also utilized by mobile consumers for transactions. With mobile payments, users can directly send money to recipients via their cell phone number or bank account.
Common Benefits of Mobile Commerce
Until recently, the ability to develop mobile apps and transition to mobile-friendly platforms was primarily accessible to major corporations like Amazon and Walmart. However, with the decreasing cost of adopting mobile technologies, an increasing number of companies are now able to enjoy the advantages they offer.
If you are operating a business, regardless of its size, here are some of the significant benefits of mobile commerce and its potential to enhance the growth of your enterprise.
Improve overall customer experience
E-commerce revolutionized shopping, allowing users to shop from desktops, compare prices, and enjoy the convenience of home shopping. Now, with m-commerce, shoppers can do all this without a desktop; just a smartphone will do. M-commerce adds unique capabilities:
- Mobility: Unlike laptops, smartphones are always at hand, making online shopping more convenient.
- Reachability: Retailers can send SMS notifications, reaching customers on the go.
- Location-tracking: M-commerce utilizes GPS and Wi-Fi to personalize content based on the user's location.
Phenomenal growth potential
Despite the already substantial user base in mobile commerce, there is no indication of the industry's growth slowing down.
According to Statista, the proportion of mobile e-commerce sales in the US retail industry is projected to rise from 6% in 2021 to more than 10% by 2025. This signifies a growth of 7 percentage points since 2018.
A true omnichannel experience
Omnichannel commerce encompasses the practice of selling products both in physical stores and online, utilizing various platforms such as e-commerce websites, Amazon, eBay, Instagram, and more. The goal is to ensure a consistent and seamless shopping experience for customers while maintaining a unified brand message across all channels of interaction.
Creating an omnichannel experience goes beyond just that; it involves reaching out to customers wherever they are and simplifying their purchasing process.
Mobile devices are the perfect platform for omnichannel commerce due to the widespread use of smartphones among your customer base.
Wide range of payment options
To enhance the convenience of purchasing, the advent of innovative mobile payment systems has expanded the range of available payment methods. These include well-known solutions like Apple Pay, PayPal One-Touch, Visa Checkout, and Amazon Pay.
With the advancement of technology, numerous online retail platforms have implemented the convenient feature of one-click checkout. This innovative functionality enables customers to securely store their payment information in the system, eliminating the need to repeatedly enter it for future purchases. Once set up, users can easily complete transactions with just a single click, enhancing the overall user experience and streamlining the checkout process.
The evolution of mobile commerce has not only transformed the way we shop but has also addressed security concerns prevalent in traditional e-commerce. With the convenience of smartphones, coupled with innovative features like biometric authentication and mobile wallets, m-commerce has reshaped the landscape of online transactions. As technology continues to advance, embracing the potential of m-commerce is key to staying at the forefront of the digital shopping experience. Whether through QR codes or cryptocurrencies, the future of commerce is undoubtedly mobile.