In recent years, our reliance on the Internet has been coupled with a growing addiction to smartphones. It’s therefore no surprise that our phones and tablets are increasingly being used for financial transactions and online purchases. This is mobile commerce. However, understanding the differences between distinct types of mobile commerce is crucial when it comes to recognizing the advantages of mobile commerce.
The World in Your Pocket
Also known as mcommerce or m-commerce, mobile commerce involves any financial activity undertaken on your phone. As such, it’s a subset of e-commerce—the $4.28 trillion global market which is expected to grow by over 25 percent this year.
Mobile commerce growth has taken place across three key areas:
- Shopping, either through an app, a mobile-optimized website, or social media
- Banking—often a stripped-down version of desktop banking services
- Payments, including digital wallets, peer-to-peer funding apps, in-app payments, etc.
Tracking Mobile Commerce Growth
As well as providing an alternative to existing industries such as retail, mobile commerce has seen entirely new services and industries evolving:
- Electronic tickets, from PDF boarding passes to QR entry codes
- Mobile banking, using apps quite distinct from web browser interfaces
- Contactless payments, which have soared in popularity post-COVID
- Branded apps containing loyalty memberships or payment gateways
You might have noticed the word app featured more than once already in this article. One of the key advantages of digital and mobile commerce is its ability to work through native apps, which create a self-contained ecosystem for customers to use. One app can be a company’s entire mobile commerce platform, handling everything from customer information to payment details.
The best branded consumer apps transcend simply buying or transferring money. They allow people to acquire additional products and services, request customer support and assistance, organize returns, and alter delivery preferences. Any list of mobile commerce attributes and benefits should reflect how modern apps can be all things at once. From payment gateways and online storefronts to customer data centers and loyalty cards.
A Partner, Not a Competitor
There has historically been tension between physical and digital retail environments. And it’s certainly true that mobile commerce solutions and benefits include less physical interaction with other people. Plus, the greater convenience of buying and paying on the go, rather than in a designated store. This is a trend that has accelerated during the pandemic, chiming with growing public desire for instant gratification.
Yet mobile commerce can complement brick-and-mortar stores by creating an omnichannel experience. An app can really enrich the in-store experience and deepen the brand connection with consumers. Shoppers can scan a QR code to bring up a wealth of information on a product or service. Or, the app can send a push notification with special offers based on loyalty status. Consumer apps aren’t a separate shopping channel. They bridge the gap between stores and ecommerce and offer an experience that adapts to the customer journey—on-the-couch, on-the-go, and in-store.
Pay As You Go
As cash and checks continue their inevitable decline, other advantages of mobile commerce include the ability to offer consumers a wealth of payment options. From peer-to-peer payment platforms to money transfers, the sheer variety of card-free mobile wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay, WeChat Pay, etc.) allows people to choose the most convenient payment option at that time. Simpler checkouts lead to more conversions—and more repeat business.
It’s also worth noting that the more people become immersed in an online ecosystem, the more information they reveal. This is useful for companies in terms of understanding their customers, but it also helps to identify growing trends, directing future development into particularly popular markets/platforms/gateways. The logistical challenges of complying with data regulations are worthwhile when you can tailor content based on a deep dive into individual customer demographics.
Building Mobile Commerce for the future
It’s clear that any mobile commerce strategy will rely heavily on apps. These are increasingly the default consumer choice when it comes to interacting with brands and businesses on their phones. Until chatbots and AI can provide these services on our behalf, the best mobile shopping apps will continue to be those offering various scalable services in one place.
You can find more about the advantages of mobile in retail by downloading our white paper. In addition to examining how mobile has become a necessity in the new retail world, it showcases how brands are adapting to accommodate modern mobile-first shopping preferences such as branded consumer apps and mobile payments.