Everyone who’s been in some way involved with e-commerce has certainly come across the term mobile commerce (m-commerce).
It stands for everything going on mobile devices, from browsing to selling and buying products and/or services. Same as e-commerce, it’s a complete shopping experience, but the one that offers far more convenience since it’s done through wireless handheld devices such as palmtops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other personal digital assistants (PDA). There is no limit to the tasks users are able to perform using m-commerce - reading and watching the news, ordering books, paying bills, booking movie tickets, making railway reservations, etc. This branch of online business has a bright future and great chances of replacing traditional e-commerce. Let’s take a closer look at that future.
A Swift Evolution
It may seem like an eon ago when we have mobiles the size of bricks that were barely able to make a phone call, not to mention the purchase. But if you think about it, that wasn’t actually that long ago. The evolution of mobile devices has been (and still is) a swift one, and that’s the reason why the world of m-commerce is growing like no other. It has quickly turned into a playground for innovative retailers who are looking to implement new technologies in order to make their online business stand out from the competition. Due to this rapid growth, m-commerce is no longer just about keeping up - it’s becoming a crucial factor for every business looking to stay in the game in the years ahead.
There is no denying that the ownership of mobile devices is booming - today there’s no single person who can’t afford to own a smartphone, which is obvious from the growing popularity of used smartphones for sale. M-commerce has quickly followed that booming, and mobile users have surpassed one-third of overall e-commerce traffic already in 2012. Furthermore, the growth of mobile commerce has also influenced the growth of showrooming. This term represents every situation in which a customer examines the products in brick-and-mortar stores then buys that same product for a cheaper price online. These situations undoubtedly benefit online retailers and they’ll certainly make this evolution even swifter.
Key Factors in M-commerce Market Growth
The biggest factor that’s driving the growth of the global mobile commerce market is without a doubt the increase in the use of portable and internet-enabled devices. But there are also other factors that play an equally important role, such as the availability of services and goods from major players on e-commerce, the improvement in network bandwidth (the introduction of 5G, for example), and the development in mobile application structure. All this together is what drives the growth of this fast-expanding market.
On the other hand, there are also some factors that are restraining this growth, such as data security threats and internet connectivity issues in developing countries. Furthermore, things that could hamper the expected growth are the limited professional workforce and the fact that mobile commerce software still has a high development cost. Nonetheless, increasing adoption of various mobile payment systems, internet-enabled devices, and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) will certainly create numerous opportunities for all players inside the mobile commerce market. It’s also important to know that the global mobile commerce market is segmented on the basis of region, type of user, payment mode, and transaction. When it comes to region segmentation, it consists of Middle East & Africa, Latin America, Aisa Pacific, Europe, and North America.
Trends of The Future
One of the most prominent trends of mobile commerce is its growth itself. While sites like Amazon have experienced remarkable growth already in 2012, many businesses experienced only a limited mobile commerce success. But since then sales have quadrupled, showing that all businesses in this race recognize mobile commerce as the best way to keep up with competitors by increasing their sales and enhancing their brand. We've started this story saying that the future of mobile commerce is a bright one, and it seems that the biggest trend is to make it even brighter.
The next trend in line is connected with the fact that customers, especially smartphone users, have desired more information on mobile websites from the start. Although the appeal of mobile commerce mainly comes from convenience, that convenience mustn’t sacrifice the information or otherwise, customers will surely look elsewhere. This has created an evolving trend regarding the easily-available information since mobile offerings are still pretty uncharted territories for businesses who are still trying to find out what works and what doesn’t.
One big trend, that is growing larger every day, is influenced by the rise of tablets and their roles in commerce. This is pretty obvious when we look at the nature of these mobile devices - they’re portable like other devices but offer larger screens which go with that portability, enabling easier navigation through mobile e-commerce websites.
The last but not least is the trend of augmented reality and its ability to power mobile commerce. There’s no doubt that mobile commerce has made it easier and faster for consumers to make a purchase and therefore dramatically changed the ways brand reach them. But this ability to avoid the hustle and bustle and shop on the fly has also lead to the loss of something fundamental by removing the human element from the shopping experience. And the augmented reality trend is able to make up for it by restoring the ʽelement of touchʼ which makes the shopping experience more personalized. Once consumers find something they like, the augmented reality app allows them to ʽtry it onʼ, no matter if its a jewelry for their wrists or furniture for their living room.
As you can see, the future of mobile commerce is getting brighter every day. It’s tightly connected with the swift evolution of mobile devices and their affordability today. While there are some factors that could jeopardize the growth of the mobile commerce market, there are much more of those that will inevitably create numerous new opportunities. And it obviously has some trends to ride on, while others will certainly come with the future we’re all so eager to see.