Mobile devices are an essential part of our everyday activities, including shopping. Think of it: the US alone has over 178.7 million mobile buyers, and this number is projected to grow by 10 million by the end of 2025. The growing number of mobile shoppers propels more mobile-generated sales. And the merchants should consider the changes in the way people shop and the way the global market shifts to adapt to new conditions.
The question is, how to make your m-commerce game strong? You’ll find the answers in this article. Let’s start with the mobile commerce definition.
What Is M-Commerce?
All m-commerce is e-commerce, but not all e-commerce is m-commerce. Let’s explain this.
In e-commerce, you use all electronic devices that make purchasing online available (laptops, desktop computers, smart TVs, etc.). Mobile commerce, or m-commerce, is a part of e-commerce that refers to the use of wireless handheld devices for handling various commercial transactions online. To the devices that make m-commerce possible belong:
With the help of point-of-sale (POS) terminals, nearfield communication technology (NFC), and the Internet, they authorize, initiate, and confirm the exchange of money during the purchase. Most common types of mobile commerce include mobile banking, in-app purchasing, digital marketplaces, and digital wallets. Let’s talk about them in more detail.
Types of M-commerce Apps
Based on the transaction type, mobile ecommerce is divided into:
- Mobile banking. These are bank-authorized apps that allow various operations without going to the land-based office. Some services only allow finance-related transactions, while others offer features like ticket purchase, hotel booking, city transport payments, etc.
- E-wallets. Digital wallets store the credit card credentials and enable you to pay for goods thanks to NFC and PayPass technologies. The most popular e-wallets are PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc. Some wallets also store the tickets, gift cards, and discounts that can be used during the purchase.
- Mobile marketplaces. EBay, Amazon, Etsy, AliExpress, Craigslist, and other marketplaces have the mobile analogs of their websites that work on handheld devices.
- Shopping apps. These are standalone or web-based apps for selling the business’s goods or services, and they work the same way as e-commerce.
The popularity and beneficial features of m-commerce make it appealing to dabble in and develop, especially if a merchant already has an e-commerce website. While it can be a solid basis for commerce transactions, the merchant might need to request third-party system integration services to unlock additional marketing opportunities, and ensure a smooth shopping experience and secure payments.
How Does Mobile Commerce Work?
Besides banking operations, there are two users of mcommerce: the merchant and the customer. It’s important to know the perspective of both before making your business mobile-friendly.
- Customer perspective. As people always carry their mobile devices with them, the m-optimized websites and apps enable a customer to shop on the go whenever and wherever. They have the convenience of reviewing the product and ordering it fast, as well as browse to compare offers from various retailers. In fact, some apps even aggregate the available products in lists for the users to spend less time on purchasing. That helps with product discoverability, speeds up customer conversion, and enhances the overall buying experience.
- Merchant perspective. The basic form of m-commerce is based on the peer-to-peer (P2P) model: the payments are arranged between the two sides without any intermediary. In this case, the merchant can add a direct payment option and let the customers pay in the app using the most convenient method. Depending on the nature of business and the geography, there might be third parties that participate in the transactions, which will entail modifying the payment procedures and systems.
New technologies make mobile shopping easier and more convenient, and these are not the only benefits that come to mind.
Mobile Commerce Advantages
From 24/7 availability on the market to omnichannel experience, m-commerce has plenty of perks for the merchant. Take a look at the full list below.
Convenient Customer-Oriented Shopping
Customers who shop online look for three main things in their shopping process: time efficiency, product information availability, and safety during check-outs or returns. A survey shows that while 76% of consumers prefer mobile shopping because it’s fast, only 22% find it convenient due to the nature of the medium (smaller screen compared to the desktop). To win the mobile users’ hearts, developers of m-commerce platforms should apply UX and human-centered design best practices.
Besides convenience, mobile shopping is praised for faster transactions and browsing. For example, customers who shop from the app most likely have their payment and check-out information saved, so they only need a few clicks to finalize the order.
Constant engagement with prospects through various media enhances the chance of them buying from you and becoming your client. M-commerce refers to the strategy that can’t be ignored in the world where the screens of mobile devices are palm extensions.
Think of it: you can promote your brand on social media and some of 4.16 bn mobile social media users will view it. You can also build and transform your strategy around ‘omnitude’ – Sephora’s executive-coined word to describe the company’s readiness to provide a seamless experience through various channels. Sephora has a mobile strategy written into their brand concept – just check it out!
And here’s how Sephora handled the m-commerce and won even during the pandemic step by step.
- Enhanced brand awareness through social media. And it’s not only about the paid ads – it’s about creating a community of beauty-lovers around the globe. They have the iPad-only exclusive catalog, mobile-only deals, and newsletters, so their mobile clients are always treated with promotions that keep them busy and engaged.
- Increased in-store traffic. Omnichannel means selling through every medium the business has, and what is mobile commerce if not a part of the story? Sephora links both by sending vouchers and discounts for in-store purchases, encouraging the mobile users to shop at the land-based store as well.
- Free user-generated content. Digital communities are the backbone of any e-commerce, especially if they use mobile devices. Sephora does various challenges, giveaways, and quizzes to make people talk about the brand and experience on social media. In this way, the customers express themselves, their opinion, and share tricks on how to level up the beauty game, and the brand gets access to the client’s reviews and information they wouldn’t get otherwise.
- Enhanced loyalty. Gamification of loyalty programs is something that’s easily done in m-commerce. Sephora, for example, has the Beauty Insider Loyalty Program, which rewards the users with bonus points each time they shop, review, or contribute online or in-store. With enough bonus points, the clients can buy mini or full versions of selected products or apply bonuses at the checkout to get discounts. Needless to say that people love the game of collecting free goodies.
Targeted Marketing & Personalized Content
The needs of clients vary from country to country. For example, the people in the Scandinavia region will more likely need cream with higher SPF than consumers from Spain because of different weather conditions and skin sensitivity. With m-commerce in place, you can unfold location-based marketing and sell products where they are in more demand, thus increasing the personalization level – something that 71% of consumers expect.
Targeting across devices also allows companies to gather – upon customer’s consent – user’s big data, such as shopping history, viewed items, social media profiles, location, and interests. This data becomes a significant source of your customers’ preferences when put together.
GPS and geolocation are essential tools to consider when developing a working m-commerce strategy. Here are a few stats to explain why.
- 63% of millennials say they don’t go shopping without using their phones first
- In 2017-2019, the “near me” mobile searches have grown by over 250%
- 40% of US shoppers use phones to compare prices in-store and online
- 76% of users who searched for any “near me” business visit the location within a day, with 28% of those searches resulting in purchase
Knowing where your customer is based helps you promote your business in the area. Geo-fencing, geo-conquesting, and proximity marketing are the most common techniques to target users based on their location in order to improve visibility. For instance, Starbucks has geo-navigation in its app, allowing customers to find the closest cafe for visits and pick-ups.
Geolocation can also be used indoors, especially in the large shopping malls with a high probability of customers not even finding the store they wanted. IKEA app, for example, has a feature that allows users to find the products in stores, thus improving the service and increasing client satisfaction.
Higher Engagement via Push Notifications
Push notifications (PN) are an alternative or additional form of how a business can engage the clients or prospects at any stage of the buyer’s journey. Social ad and email marketing, of course, may remain a part of the strategy, but let’s be honest: people are tired of receiving emails that have no personal value. On the contrary, push notification, SMS, or in-app messages can inform the clients about the items they are interested in, promotions they’ve already used in the past, or updates regarding their wish list. A few stats on how PNs improve business:
- 26% higher mobile app open rates
- 92% higher retention rates
- 50% of the people sign up for push notifications to access special or exclusive offers
If your business deals with event management, push notifications can remind your clients not to miss updates on the shows. Just like Ticketmaster did. Alongside the updates, you can add information about upcoming shows to boost ticket sales.
But managing push notification also has its rules. You want to know when it’s best to send them, how often your users want to receive them, and what topics they are most interested in. Here’s why you’d better survey your existing or new clients regarding the push notifications:
- PN directs users to your social media channels
- They promote products, services, and special offers
- By delivering valuable content, they build trust and brand reputation
- They drive the users back to abandoned carts
There’s hardly any mobile device that doesn’t have a voice search option, and for m-commerce, it means another channel to promote your business. These stats explain why.
- 38.5% of Americans used voice assistants in 2020 for searches
- One in three American households owns a smart speaker
- 33.2 million US consumers are expected to use voice search for shopping
- 73% of retail leaders say voice search delivers better-filtered results, compared to type searches
- Merchants who adopted video- and voice searches on their websites increased their revenue by 30%
No doubt, voice search will be one of the dominating trends in e-commerce for the years to come, especially with the improvement of natural language processing technologies (NLP) and machine learning. It will result in more accurate and faster search results for the clients and increased revenue for the businesses.
With these perks, m-commerce will appear a very appealing fiend for digital businesses. We also want to mention a few associated drawbacks.
Mobile Commerce Disadvantages
When you start developing your m-commerce strategy, keep in mind the following to avoid spending time and budget on ineffective actions and tactics.
Your business isn’t the only one that strives to get to potential consumers via mobile devices, but it’s your business’ mobile presence that can match you with the clients. The mobile or web app should deliver a unique user experience and contain the expected and useful features to drive engagement. Otherwise, you risk seeing your clients simply mute your app notifications.
Marketing fraud is another thing to always keep in mind and do everything to prevent it. Click spam (generating fake clicks on your pay-per-click ads) is a widespread problem in m-commerce. It drains your marketing budget and leads to miscalculation of prospects and organic traffic, creating strategies using incomplete data, and placing stakes on the de-facto ineffective but de-jure successful channels.
The more mobile apps are being developed, the more security issues occur. Why? On the one hand, some developers save on implementing strict security technologies. On the other hand, users don’t always check the app information before downloading it. Your task as a merchant is to ensure that all available security features like 2-factor authentication, ID verification, SSL certificates, and others are in place. Plus, you need to inform your clients how you collect and process their data and remind them to secure their information.
Constant Need for Optimization
Creating the mobile app means you’ll need to optimize it constantly for it to be functional, up-to-date, and appealing. On the one hand, there are mobile platform updates, on the other – the fast-changing needs of users. There are also some technical issues.
Mobile conversion rates lag primarily because of small screen sizes. That’s why merchants should compensate for that gap with mobile-friendly UX, fast loading speed, convenient and easy-to-navigate menu.
Mobile Commerce Trends
If m-commerce was essentially the same e-commerce on the smaller screen at its outset, it has established a few trends that still stay strong. Here’s what to expect in 2023.
- Shoppable videos. It’s not only about seeing an ad and starting to google the product – you can buy it before the ad ends. The integration of visual content and a shopping platform is something that m-commerce made a considerable success. And yes, that could be the reason YouTube has increased the number of ads.
- Live commerce (live stream). A huge trend in China, McKinsey suggests live commerce sales will account for 20% of all ecommerce by 2026. Brands might collaborate with bloggers or influencers to bring an immersive customer experience and live interactions during the product display and instant ordering. Usually, these live streams also offer discounts.
- Mobile chatbots. About 54% of customers prefer chatbots over human assistants if it saves them time. Powered with AR & VR, mobile chatbots become the best buddies for those who want to get all the information regarding the product. In addition, chatbots can also offer limited-time deals to secure the purchase and drive more sales.
- Progressive web application development (PWA). PWA in ecommerce implies a hybrid type of app that has the features of both app and web applications. Your users can use it on both mobile and desktop devices, and you as a merchant reduce app development and maintenance costs.
- Social commerce. Brands with professional accounts on Facebook or Instagram can tag their products in posts and allow users to shop directly.
Not every trend may be suitable or needed for your business, so you need to consider the peculiarities of your audience, your business, and the goals you want to achieve. Allocate your resources wisely and create a working m-commerce strategy.
When to Choose The Mobile Commerce For Your Store?
M-commerce meaning has already firmly entrenched itself in global digital commerce and marketing, so you won’t miss out if you start planning your strategy now whether you already have a website or plan its development as well.
Setting up m-commerce will help increase the engagement rate, reach broader audiences, promote deals and special offers, collect data for analytics, and know the customer’s preferences. This process, however, requires thorough preparation and a skilled developers team like Elogic.
As an ecommerce web development company, Elogic specializes in cross-platform app and PWA development based on your needs, business peculiarities, and budget.