Electronic commerce is one of the fastest growing industries in recent years. The market for fast and convenient online retail increased along with the continuous development and innovation in the digital, web, and tech industries. Aside from this, the exponential growth of ecommerce businesses was boosted even further by the Covid-19 global pandemic. Since people had no choice but to stay indoors, they turned to online and digital platforms to interact with others and cope with the abrupt change and isolation.
Despite this, it is safe to say that the use of digital devices such as mobile phones is part of nearly everyone’s day-to-day activities. People use it to call or message others, browse the internet, and check their social media accounts. Reports say that there are more than 7 billion mobile phone users in the world. This means that roughly 90% of the world’s total population has access to mobile phones and their amazing features.
Mobile phones are some of the most versatile and powerful digital devices today. Both hardware and software for phones evolved significantly over the years, thus, allowing these handheld devices to have the same processing power and features as a full-on desktop computer. It is through this that the concept of mobile commerce or M-commerce came to life.
What Is Mobile Commerce?
Mobile commerce refers to the use of mobile and handheld devices to conduct online transactions such as the sale of digital products, goods, and services, bills payment, online banking, and the like. M-commerce is considered to be a market in the ecommerce industry that is specifically focused on mobile devices, programs, apps, and software.
In comparison, ecommerce is an overarching term used to define all online commercial transactions. On the other hand, mobile commerce is specifically focused on commercial activities that are conducted through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The m-commerce industry is focused on growing, developing, improving, and optimizing different aspects of online retail done through significantly smaller and less powerful devices.
Types of M-commerce
Mobile devices, especially smartphones, are highly versatile devices. Some models feature the same processing capabilities you can find on desktop computers and laptops. Others feature camera lenses comparable to professional and high-end cameras. The rapid development of smartphones opened the doors for entrepreneurs and business owners to create online stores and make mobile apps. To give you a better idea of what M-commerce is, here are some of the most common types of mobile commerce businesses and transactions:
Mobile banking is a form of m-commerce that provides access to common banking services such as balance transfers and payments. It also serves as a digital wallet that allows users to check their account balances and directly pay for online purchases. Mobile banking is still a developing form of M-commerce but some apps offer amazing features such as direct bill payments, loan applications, investment features, and so much more. Online banking apps are also used to provide customer service and support as well as access to bank account information, history, and settings without the hassle of going to the bank itself.
Mobile online shopping applications
There was a significant boost in online sales and transactions during the height of the global pandemic. But aside from accessing an online business or ecommerce platform through a desktop computer or laptop, digital shopping through mobile phones became even more popular in recent years. Data shows that in 2021, there was a significant increase in the number of downloads and average use of mobile shopping apps. Some of the top mobile shopping apps on the Android OS and iOS include the likes of SHEIN, Amazon, Shop, Etsy, and Alibaba.
Service delivery applications
This type of M-commerce refers to the purchase of services such as cab pickups, food delivery, package delivery, and the like. Some of the most popular service delivery apps are Uber and Grab.
These apps offer an array of services that involves hiring an individual to provide the customer a particular service whether it’s to drive pick them up and drive them to a location or to order and deliver them food. One important aspect of service delivery applications is the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology in order to accurately track customer locations and addresses. This is only possible through the GPS technology available in almost all smartphone devices today.
When community lockdowns and quarantine protocols were put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic, this type of M-commerce business played a huge role in providing people with food delivery services. Restaurants register their businesses and they are automatically listed on the app. The list of available establishments is shown depending on the user’s location.
The Pros and Cons of M-Commerce
If you are thinking about starting a business specifically focused on mobile users, it’s important that you know the advantages and disadvantages of establishing an M-commerce business.
One of the benefits of m-commerce is that it has a larger customer base. The latest data shows that nearly 90% of the world’s population has a mobile device, the majority of which are smartphone users. Compared to desktop programs and software, mobile apps require significantly less processing power in order to function. This allows smartphones with minimal specs to still access a wide range of mobile devices that can be used for commercial purposes. This makes M-commerce more accessible to customers compared to strictly desktop or computer-based programs.
Another advantage of M-commerce revolves around a more personal user experience (UX). In most cases, mobile phone users have their devices as personal items or property. Unlike desktop computers or laptops, mobile phones are not typically shared with family members or workmates. This notion allow M-commerce applications to access user data and create a more personalized UX without the fear of leaking important information to other users. Some mobile apps store user information which allows them to create a suitable marketing strategy such as email marketing, social media ads, and more. On the other hand, some mobile apps even have biometric login features that allow users to use their phone’s built-in fingerprint scanner to securely access applications and other features.
However, M-commerce still has its fair share of risks, challenges, and disadvantages. One of the most common issues in M-commerce involves data and network connectivity problems. Most M-commerce applications require data or network connection in order to load up and access their features. This can become a problem in areas or with devices with poor signal reception. Without a proper network connection, the app is practically useless.
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