Do you know what m-commerce is?
If you answered yes, do you know how it’s different from e-commerce?
If you answered yes again, do you know how you can optimize your mobile commerce website for the best customer experience?
For those of you who answered no to the questions above, you’ve come to the right place! We cover each of those questions in detail throughout this guide to mobile e-commerce.
Ready to get started?
What is m-commerce?
M-commerce is a broad term that describes the purchasing and selling of goods or services through the use of mobile devices (i.e. smartphones and tablets). Mobile commerce is a trend that is not expected to slow down any time soon. In fact, by 2021, mobile commerce is projected to generate 54% of all retail e-commerce. And as the number of people around the world who are using smartphones grows, it only makes sense that online buying and selling will grow as well.
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As noted, mobile commerce solutions is a broad term that encompasses a number of different tools or processes. In general, mobile commerce solutions will fit into one of these three categories:
- Mobile shopping
Most websites that offer the ability to make purchases on the desktop have also optimized that function for m-commerce as well. Mobile shopping isn’t restricted to web browsers though – it’s also found in applications specifically designed for m-commerce shopping and, increasingly, on social media platforms (see Facebook Shops).
- Mobile banking
If you have an account at a big-name bank, then you’re probably familiar with their mobile banking application or, at the very least, the ability to conduct bank transactions through their websites from your mobile device. Of the three categories of mobile e-commerce, mobile banking still has room to grow – some types of transactions may be limited on mobile devices.
- Mobile payments
In recent years, the mobile payments sector has grown and evolved to become more expansive and also more efficient. Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, and PayPal are just a very small sample of the mobile e-commerce payment solutions that exist today.
While it’s true that m-commerce is a subcategory of e-commerce, there are some key differences that should be highlighted. We get to that just below.
M-Commerce vs. E-Commerce: What’s the difference?
Even though they both use the internet to complete transactions, the differences between m-commerce and e-commerce are important to keep in mind for many reasons. For one example, your e-commerce advertising strategy should be different for mobile than for desktop both in terms of design and targeting – without knowing how m-commerce and e-commerce contrast, creating a successful marketing plan can be tough.
Here are the top five differences between m-commerce and e-commerce:
Since mobile commerce is conducted through pocket-sized devices, it naturally reaches more people than e-commerce. Plus, with push notifications on mobile devices, consumers can be reached through m-commerce much more easily than through e-commerce which depends entirely on customers being at their computers.
Once your potential customers have been reached and given an incentive to buy, the next step is for them to actually make the purchase. If you’re using e-commerce, then your customers must be at their desktop to complete their purchase on your website. Of course, that’s less likely to happen than if your customers can make the purchase directly from their smartphones – which is exactly why mobile commerce has an upper hand in this regard.
Bonus statistic: 76% of online shoppers say they make purchases via mobile devices because it’s more time-efficient.
It’s no secret that when customers shop online, they’re often concerned about cyber security and the safety of their information. Fortunately, mobile commerce solutions have the matter of security covered. Not only do mobile commerce stores use the ‘normal’ web security measures to protect their customers, but can also use functionalities such as fingerprint reading, facial recognition, or even retina scanning to add extra layers of protection.
4. Ease of use
Shopping through e-commerce on a desktop computer typically involves lots of scrolling, clicking, zooming, and navigating between pages. On the other hand, smartphones and tablets have a much more intuitive user interface. Likewise, the basic concepts behind the design of mobile commerce stores’ customer experience are simplicity and practicality, which naturally lead to more ease of use.
5. Location tracking
Both e-commerce and m-commerce can utilize location identification to target specific audiences and tailor marketing campaigns or offers to particular places or regions. But ‘static’ e-commerce will only pick up on the individual location where the desktop is plugged in. On the other hand, since smartphones are portable, mobile commerce marketing can use live locations as well as patterns of movement to tailor advertisements with incredible precision.
Advantages and disadvantages of m-commerce
Judging by the list of differences between m-commerce and e-commerce above, it might appear that mobile commerce is the hands-down better option. But before deciding on a business model, it’s important to note that mobile e-commerce also has its limitations and disadvantages
Side note: If you’re not familiar with the advantages of e-commerce for consumers & businesses, catch up on them now! With the recent COVID-19 crisis, e-commerce (including mobile commerce) has been growing even more quickly than before.
Have a look at the top pros and cons of m-commerce:
Advantages of mobile commerce
- Encourages quick decision to purchase – mobile commerce allows customers to purchase your goods or services virtually anywhere and at any time. That ability eliminates the question of whether a customer can make the buy, and leaves them with the question of whether they want to make the buy. And since mobile commerce solutions allow you to reach customers on their smartphones, you can tactfully target your advertising to help close the deal.
- Targeted timing for ads – mobile e-commerce gives you the ability to aim your marketing at precisely the right time so that customers will get the final nudge right when they need it. Target timing for m-commerce advertising can be done during specific times of day when your store gets more traffic or, better yet, can be triggered to pop up in the shopping experience at the time where most customers drop off. Of course, targeted timing for m-commerce ads is possible thanks to the greater access to user data in mobile commerce.
- Greater access to user data – assuming that you launch an app for your m-commerce store, you’ll have free access to enormous amounts of data from customers. That data can expose some very useful insights into customer behavior which you can then use to optimize your entire mobile commerce experience – from how the app behaves to marketing and beyond.
Disadvantages of mobile commerce
- Less human connection – when asked about customer service, roughly 70% of customers say that they’d rather interact with a human representative than a chatbot with almost 30% specifically saying they’d prefer to speak on the phone. This fact can present some problems for mobile commerce business owners since they may rely quite heavily on chatbots and other automated customer service solutions.
- More competition – along with the advantage of reachability comes the disadvantage of entering a global market that’s very-likely saturated with businesses that do the same thing you do. Even if you’re targeting a domestic market, it’ll take some time before your intended audience will have an easy time pinpointing your business among the many others claiming to offer the same quality goods or services.
- Depends on reliable internet connection – conducting business through mobile devices is great for ease of use, but only if those mobile devices have access to the internet. Plus, if it’s a mobile shopping app, you’ll have to invest in ensuring that the app doesn’t crash. And on top of that, if your servers aren’t strong enough, a heavy flow of traffic could result in your store ‘stalling out’ and not processing any orders at all. These are concerns worth paying mind to especially if you intend on doing well during Black Friday.
Knowing those advantages and disadvantages of mobile e-commerce, your next question may be “What actionable steps can you take to improve your m-commerce store?” We give the answer to that next!
Mobile commerce solutions: How to optimize for m-commerce
There are plenty of mobile commerce solutions that you can put to good use, so don’t be fooled by the size of the following list. That said, if you begin with the three strategies for optimizing your m-commerce website below, you’ll be off to a great start.
Here are the top three mobile commerce solutions:
1. Optimize your website for mobile
The reality for many mobile e-commerce businesses is that building a custom app for their stores might not be in their immediate futures. If that’s true for your store, you can still make your m-commerce customer experience better by optimizing your website for mobile access.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a computer whiz to get this done. There are several e-commerce website builders that automatically reshape your website to fit mobile devices. Be sure to do your due diligence!
2. Make your checkout process easy
If you’ve been working in e-commerce for any amount of time, you know how big of a problem online shopping cart abandonment can be to your business. Making your checkout process more efficient and quicker won’t just help to reduce cart abandonment, but will also act as a mobile commerce solution to keep your m-commerce transactions flowing in on a consistent basis.
3. Use less heavy content
When you’re aiming to adjust your already-existing website to be mobile-friendly, you’re most likely going to hit some snags along the way. One of the more common complications that mobile commerce can bring up is that your website’s content may not fit on mobile devices the way you (or your customers) would like.
For m-commerce, you’ll want to keep the shape and substance of your content strategy focused on mobile accessibility. Shorter text is better than long paragraphs. Spacing may need to be played around with a bit to get right. Margins should be kept small so as not to create too much white space.
Once again, you don’t necessarily need to be an expert to get this stuff done. There are a number of e-commerce platforms best for SEO that provide easy solutions to optimizing your content for mobile e-commerce.
Put those mobile commerce solutions into action and you’ll be well on your way to creating an m-commerce store that customers simply won’t be able to resist.
Mobile commerce is going places
The m-commerce marketplace is burgeoning with businesses and customers alike, presenting new opportunities for the broader e-commerce sector to grow and advance. With the information here, you have a firm basis on which to decide if and how your business should enter into the m-commerce arena. Are you ready to take your e-commerce business mobile now?