Online shopping on the palm of your hand? Easy – thanks to the mCommerce (m-commerce) concept! Nowadays, mobile channels are not just a choice for custom e-commerce web platforms – they are a vital necessity. Sooner or later, customers will want to check your store with their smartphones, and the user experience will influence their perception of your company.
Today, we are going to review the reasons why mobile shopping has become popular and which benefits of mCommerce will help your company to succeed.
The Scope of M-commerce and Its History
What is M-commerce?
M-commerce is a part of electronic commerce, which implies wireless online shopping with the help of handheld devices (smartphones and tablets).
Etymology of the Term
The term "m-commerce" was coined by Kevin Duffey, then CEO of the Global Mobile Commerce Forum, in November 1997. The sphere of mobile shopping itself began with two Coca-Cola vending machines in Helsinki, Finland. The major innovation compared to usual dispensers was the possibility to pay for the soda using SMS. This feature became so popular that it served an inspiration for the appearance and subsequent rapid development of the local mobile banking market.
Mobile ringtones were the first digital products sold through m-commerce channels, also in Finland, in 1998. At this point, you may already be wondering when exactly mobile shopping became popular. Well, it took two years for the m-commerce idea to start spreading on a global scale, and in 2000 the mobile shopping fever began.
M-Commerce in 2018: Facts and Statistics
Since 1998, mobile commerce has been rising steadily. Twenty years have since passed, and we have got some impressive statistics on how shopping with smartphones looks today.
- As reported by Appjetty, 57% of mobile users would not recommend a web business if it has a poor user experience.
- According to Statista's research, the share of mobile sales in the U.S. market is expected to continue growing. It was 34.5% in 2017 and this index is forecast to rise to at least 53.9% by 2021.
- Online shopping is one of the leading mobile software categories by the amount of times users spend on it. The following graph illustrates the growth of the different app types' usage last year.
No doubt, m-commerce is a very viable sphere for investments. This is not just the latest fashion – it is a long-term pattern changing customer behavior on a daily basis.
Five Advantages of Mobile Commerce for Your Business
The above statistics prove that m-commerce deserves attention from entrepreneurs. Let us figure out what features make mobile shopping a growing trend and a part of our daily routine.
1. Easy access to shopping
Time is of the essence for modern man. It is not always convenient to visit offline stores, thus, mobile-ready online shops give priceless opportunities to buy everything needed whenever, wherever. No need for driving or walking – just sit comfortably and relax. The closer the seller is to customers, the more likely their revenues will grow.
This benefit becomes worthless if your trade app's user experience is lacking. It is crucial to think out every step of the user journey, starting from the first page, right up to the final checkout. This is more than just simple responsiveness.
Look at the Frank Body website. It has a fixed menu when you scroll down the page and top collections are always showcased visibly. Such simple things make a huge difference to the first impression.
2. Increased number of customers
As the vast majority of potential customers own smartphones these days, attracting new visitors and growing the audience loyalty becomes very simple. Interestingly, almost 50% of searches on Google are made with a smartphone. Moreover, most mobile shoppers find online stores via searching in a browser.
You can use various promotional instruments to attract new mobile customers. The first thing that comes to mind is mobile ad networks – there are plenty of them on the market (AdMob, Media.net, StartApp, etc.). You can also opt for mobile retargeting. This is an ad appearing on other websites and displaying products that were recently reviewed by the visitor.
Mixing a perfect-looking mobile user experience with marketing tools creates a powerful foundation for the growth of the business.
3. Provision of all the possible product information
Let us imagine the planning process of buying a car or a dishwasher. What is the first thing that comes to mind? It is probably the personal research on the pros and cons of similar products. You are waiting in a line or sitting on public transport and start gathering the necessary info on your phone. Sounds great, doesn't it?
First of all, physical stores cannot put all product information next to a product – imagine how cluttered a shop would look. Second, talking to consultants is not always helpful as they can forget to inform potential clients about some details or discounts. M-commerce solutions, however, do not forget these things as the information in them is updated automatically.
You can play around with personalized offers in your app using mobile OS tools. If you notice that an iOS or Android user spends less, you can offer them a coupon for a certain sum spent. Another way to make things more personal is to offer free shipping depending on the client’s location.
4. Advanced marketing capabilities
Another advantage of mCommerce is the availability of unique marketing channels. Have you heard about iBeacons? These are special devices placed somewhere physical (for instance, around some store in the mall, on a signboard, or on a shelf with products) that can send messages to nearby smartphones. Thanks to this, a mobile app becomes a personal shopping assistant.
There are m-commerce examples of brands revolutionizing the market with mobile technologies. A characteristic case is the Rebecca Minkoff brand, which employed an omni-channel strategy. “Omni-channel” in trading means combining offline and online experiences. The user journey may look something like this:
- A visitor comes to the store and tries the clothes on (the offline part).
- Using a branded application, they add the items they like into a virtual cart (the beginning of the online part).
- In the application, they can additionally review all the available variations of goods that may not be present in the offline store at the moment, and order their delivery.
- A visitor checks out, pays for their order digitally or physically, and receives the bought goods that are present on site and/or registers for the delivery of the rest.
This innovative approach allowed the brand to increase their sales almost sevenfold over a period of five months. Rebecca Minkoff continues keeping up with the pace by creating “connected stores” that look completely sci-fi.
5. Reduced time and marketing costs
There is no need to print a huge banner in your offline store – you can just send a push notification to smartphones of customers. With all the advantages of m-commerce apps, you are getting the long-term money-saving prospects and increased productivity.
Think about SMS messages, paper brochures, and other similar materials. All these more traditional advertising methods are far from cheap in their implementation. Besides, the workload of your staff is also reduced as there is no need for calls or information requests – this is another way to economize.
Read also: How to Create a Successful App for Business
At first, m-commerce was considered to be a risky area due to the limitations of smartphones back then. But, as time has gone by, the problems were solved one by one – the screens became bigger and clearer, and broadband mobile internet is accessible to many more customers. Today, mobile commerce scope and benefits give lots of opportunities to business. No established entrepreneur should overlook or underestimate these capabilities.
Developing the best m-commerce solution means moving with the times. If your web platform does not have a mobile version or client, customers are much more likely to choose your competitors instead. Only innovations and opportune marketing measures shape mobile commerce, so do not let your business fall behind – contact the Applikey team!