Mobile commerce, also referred as m-commerce, is the use of wireless handheld devices, such as cellular phones and laptops, to conduct commercial transactions online. Mobile commerce transactions continue to grow, and the term includes the purchase and sale of a wide range of products and services, such as online banking, bill payment and information delivery.
Mobile commerce is founded upon the increasing adoption of electronic commerce. The rapid growth of mobile commerce is being driven by a number of positive factors, including the demand for applications from an increasingly mobile consumer base; the rapid adoption of online commerce, thanks to the resolution of security issues; and technological advances that have given wireless handheld devices advanced capabilities and substantial computing power.
M-Commerce benefits for business
Surely, running a mobile app for ecommerce can’t be the sole guarantee of profit. This is a great additional value tool to engage customers and offer experiences. Any amount of investment to make an app, if done wisely, will be justified by loyal customers. Also, check your competition – if they have app, you should probably too.
Now we are going to name main advantages of m-commerce, with few practical examples.
(1) Faster purchases
Yes, many sites have mobile versions, though apps are generally 1.5 times faster when loading data and search results on mobile devices. Moreover, there is no need to pull data from a server and so customers can browse and purchase products faster. As mobile ecommerce apps offer same functionality as desktop apps, people may purchase items directly within an app.
M-commerce revenue has been rising at 30-40% rate annually since 2014, and by the end of 2017 is expected to reach $150b total. The biggest retail app Amazon increased number of customers from 43 million in 2015 to 67 million in 2016. The reason for such achievements is intuitive mobile browsing, which in turn drives sales up.
(2) Better customer experience
Because it matters. People are well familiar with how smartphones and tablets work, so they already know how to navigate to desired products in few clicks. In addition to purchases, customers can share their joy of bought goods with friends, or ask for advice from community of shopaholics. Smooth customer experience equals better conversion rates and revenue.
To reach these goals, your online shopping app should be:
(3) Direct connection to customers (push notifications)
Shoppers get such alerts when they open a mobile app, and may get them even without activating an app. 50% of users like notifications, and 80% of users say offers and rewards make them more loyal to a brand. This is personal communication, if you look at it from another angle, store to customer directly. Most of people perceive informing about news or discounts as care, and they want exclusive stuff.
(4) Deeper analytics
Knowing your customers equals prosperity in business these days. Knowing customers demands data, at least very basic information like age, sex, location, shopping history. Within your mobile app you may build and set user analytics of various levels of sophistication. It depends on your business strategy and a budget available to make an app.
With such data you will understand your target audience much better, and will be able to increase sales. Names, phone numbers, emails, buying patterns and lots of other things in store. For instance, Walmart app that 22 million customers use every month, uses mobile data, online data and sales data combined to deliver better customer experience. It is a whole and enormous infrastructure.
(5) Cost reduction and productivity
By reaching your audience faster with a mobile app you obviously cut down marketing campaign costs. If an app has social media integration, users will do their part too in spreading the word. You can even earn from placing ads within your app later on.
(6) Store navigation/geolocation
Mobile apps have a much better competitive (technical) in regard to marketing opportunities. Front and back camera, scanning codes, positioning system for location, compass, accelerometer, gyroscope and other build-in features can be used for commercial purposes. One of the top benefits of m-commerce solutions is navigating users to nearest stores in their vicinity via GPS.
Advantages of M-Commerce :
- Convenience: With just a few clicks on mobile devices, customers can already do shopping, banking, download media files…and more than that. M-commerce also benefits retailers by many of their outstanding features compared with responsive website and mobile site.
- Flexible Accessibility: User can be accessible via mobile devices and at the same time be accessible online too through logging on to various mobile messengers and other networking platforms. On the other hand, the user may also choose not to be accessible by shutting down his mobile device, which at times can be a good thing.
- Easy Connectivity: As long as the network signal is available, mobile devices can connect and do commerce transactions not only mobile to mobile but also mobile to other devices. No need for modem or WI-FI connectivity set up.
- Personalization: Each mobile device is usually dedicated to a specific user so that it is personal. Users can do whatever they want with their handheld devices: modify the wallpaper, change view settings or modify contact information as you send emails or e-payments.
- Time Efficient: Doing M-Commerce transactions do not require the users to plug anything like personal computer or wait for the laptop to load.
EMERGING TRENDS IN MOBILE APPS
- Cloud Technology Finally Finds It’s Place: No surprises here. From the average consumer to the tech professional, everyone has heard about the benefits of cloud technology, and how it can to change our collective lives. Today, cloud computing is not only fast, easy to deploy, and inexpensive; but also makes a good working argument for both large-scale enterprises and small mom-and-dad joints.
Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive are just the tip of the iceberg, as in 2018, we can expect new powerful apps which directly run on the cloud and take minimal space in the phone storage. Syncing data – working on an app on the phone and then continuing it from a tablet or desktop will also see a huge acceptance.
- Enterprise Mobile Apps Get a New Lease of Life: It’s not a secret anymore that more and more developers are gravitating towards developing enterprise mobile apps. The reason being that such apps, which make it easy to keep large teams connected, as well as track key metrics and KPIs, are now required by almost every small and large business to some extent.
43% of the enterprise app developers earn more than $10,000 per month, as compared to the 19% of the developers who develop consumer-focused apps. Enterprise app stores are also predicted to become the next big thing, as with more B2B interaction, a tremendous opportunity will be offered to new developers.
- IoT will Open New Possibilities: IoT, or the Internet of Things, is already a $19 trillion industry, and over the next five years, more than 5 billion people are expected to be using an IoT-driven technology in some form or the other. Today, IoT is present in modern wearable technology, smart thermostats, smart bulbs, dimmable streetlights, etc.
In the coming year, expect this technology to be rapidly adopted for mobile application development, while allowing for more personalized user experiences across a variety of devices.
- Location-based Wi-Fi Services Become Commonplace: Mobile location services and Beacon technology are now starting to blur the boundaries between online and offline advertising, especially in the retail sector. Apple had already integrated the technology within iBeacon, and in 2016 Android followed suit.
In the following years, Wi-Fi will be used for more than just internet access, as more and more public hotspots would also double up as location access points. App developers are also expected to follow suit, by building apps which take advantage of such location-based Wi-Fi services.
- m-Commerce to be the Next Great Opportunity: As e-commerce giants such as Amazon and eBay flourish, the usage of m-Commerce apps is also expected to increase in the coming years. With more smartphones featuring technology such as NFC, Fingerprint recognition, etc., using a mobile phone to pay for transactions, amongst others, will also find ready acceptance. Developers will also have the opportunity to build m-Commerce apps which can provide additional functionality to the consumer. Read our article which describes the models, benefits, and future trends of mobile payment solutions.
- In-App Advertising and Purchasing Will Grow Steadily: With a growing number of smartphone users using their mobile apps to perform mundane, day-to-day tasks, the revenue generated from in-app advertising and purchasing is also steadily increasing. According to the latest figures, in-app purchasing from mobile devices touched approximately $9 billion in 2017. In the coming years, expect application development trends to move away from simple banners and integrating advertisements in a fun, non-obnoxious manner for the end-user.
- Application Security Becomes Necessary: With rapid technological advancements being made on a daily basis, application security, as well as general smartphone security is a major concern. Currently, most of the top 100 apps in the Google app store have already been hacked, and the picture isn’t that pretty on the iOS side as well.
Therefore, with Google, Microsoft, and Apple all raising the stakes and making security a big target for the coming few years, developers also need to focus on cyber security and implement new-generation security features within their apps.
- New-gen Mobile Games See the Light of Day: With the advancements being made in the field of social connectivity and cloud technology, now is the time for developers to focus on games which have an increased multiplayer focus rather than developing only single player games.
By developing new-generation games based on the latest game engines, which also make use of easy access to cloud technology, developers can push frequent and rapid updates to enhance the UX.