Simply put, mobile commerce (m-commerce) refers to trading through the mobile versions of websites and mobile apps. The most popular services in this sector can be classified according to the type of transactions:

  • Mobile shopping. Mobile shopping is now possible through mobile-optimized websites, dedicated apps, and even social media platforms.
  • Mobile banking. Almost any bank already has its own mobile app or an adapted version of the website. As a result, the users can carry out all kinds of transactions without visiting a branch, saving their time and bank resources.
  • Mobile payments. This includes electronic transactions for the use of services, money transfers, mobile wallets, contactless mobile payments, mobile cash register (POS), and payment for services of telecom operators.

Reasons for the rise of m-commerce

Due to the intense integration of mobile devices into our lives, the need to make purchases by using such devices is also growing. More and more people are ordering products online via their smartphones, and this trend is only going to intensify. The following factors also influence the success of the m-commerce sector:

  • Smartphones are becoming more affordable and more people own them. For example, according to statistics by the Pew Research Center, the share of Americans that own a smartphone is 85% as of 2021, as compared with 35% in 2011.
  • An average user spends 3 hours 15 minutes a day on a smartphone (as per Elite Content Marketer). They spend this time on social media, email, calls, mobile games, and, of course, shopping.
  • It is more convenient to follow promotions and special offers through a mobile device. Considering the emotional nature of shopping, making purchases from a phone is much faster than from a PC.
  • The UX/UI design of mobile apps and website versions is concise and functional. This approach finds more response from users, which is also the reason for the increase in the number of purchases from a smartphone.
  • Mobile apps and browsers collect more data about the user than the desktop versions of stores. For example, they can detect a change in location. It helps a lot in the formation of the most relevant personal recommendations, which in turn increases conversions.

M-commerce statistics and development trends in 2022

Insider Intelligence has prepared forecasts according to which the volume of mobile commerce will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.5%. And approximately in 2024, it will reach a turnover of 488 billion dollars or 44% of the total volume of e-commerce in the United States.

However, even with such inspiring numbers, people still refuse to place orders from mobile devices. The most common reasons for such refusal are: 

  • an inconvenient checkout process, 
  • the lack of a mobile version of the website, 
  • uncertainty about the security of payments, 
  • the habit of buying offline in a physical store.

In addition to numbers, we have also collected the main trends in the development of mobile commerce.

Generation Z is coming of age

The part of the population that grew up with the Internet since their birth is becoming solvent. And for them, electronic and mobile commerce is as natural and comfortable as possible. Analyze what percentage of your product buyers are zoomers. Perhaps it is worth preparing a unique selling proposition for their tastes.

Electronic wallets and payment services

These are Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, One Touch, Visa, Mastercard, etc. These solutions help to improve mobile conversions and have an overall positive impact on the shopping experience. The purchase process in 2022 should be as convenient, fast, and safe as possible. All you have to do is connect a proven payment system to your project, add several checkout options, and implement the ability to order in one click. As a result of these improvements, the bounce rate will be lower and the conversion rate will definitely increase.

Expansion of mobile apps

More and more popular brands and companies are developing and improving their own e-commerce mobile apps. This has a positive impact on the growth of conversion and the number of transactions in mobile commerce. Apps in the niches of clothing, footwear, cosmetics, food delivery, etc. are becoming especially popular.

Mobile-first approach

This is a modern popular principle of developing interfaces with a primary focus on mobile devices and their further scaling to desktop versions. More and more websites are dynamically adapting to the resolutions of different devices without losing in functionality and visual appeal. It makes sense because the share of mobile traffic is growing every year. As of 2021, about 55% of all traffic was coming from mobile devices (Statista data).

Social commerce

The term “social commerce” was coined in 2005 as a definition of user reviews and recommendations for online shopping. Today, the social commerce market includes the sale of goods and services on social media, instant messengers, ad sites, and other P2P platforms.

Today, social commerce pertains mostly to social media and instant messengers. Social media are becoming the marketplaces of the future, offering embedded solutions for selling goods and services, serving online shoppers, and advertising. The platforms focus on the formation of a global ecosystem, where m-commerce is an important component.

Augmented reality

The AR technology works well with smartphones and therefore can be easily implemented in m-commerce as well. E-commerce giants such as Amazon, IKEA, Sephora, Home Depot, and others have already developed m-commerce apps that use augmented reality to help shoppers make their choices. For example, by using the IKEA Place app, you can point your smartphone camera at your living room, letting the app automatically measure the space and give recommendations on furniture that fits in the space. 

Mobile chatbots or conversational commerce

A chatbot can act as a virtual shop assistant and help the shopper to make their choice in the form of interactive messages, so-called “conversational commerce”. As a result, you can sell your products or services directly in the AI chat with just a couple of clicks.

Mobile commerce vs. e-commerce: what is the difference?

Mobile commerce is just a variation of e-commerce. Both concepts refer to selling and buying online, through software. This does not require actual contact and even the presence of the seller of a physical store. But mobile e-commerce involves not just a website that you can access through a browser (which is available for almost any online store and through a smartphone). It also involves an e-commerce app that is installed on a smartphone and makes access to purchases even easier and more convenient.

Other key differences between m-commerce and e-commerce are as follows:

  • M-commerce has significantly larger connectivity than e-commerce.
  • M-commerce devices are easy to carry anywhere since they are lightweight, which is not possible with e-commerce.
  • E-commerce concentrates on the general shopping experience on the internet. Mobile commerce concentrates on the customer’s shopping journey on mobile devices.
  • In e-commerce, the use of the Internet is mandatory. In the case of mobile commerce, it is not mandatory.

Mobile commerce advantages and disadvantages

Like everything in this world, mobile commerce is not perfect. The use of such tools is your choice, which we recommend making based on the facts, weighing all pros and cons.

Benefits of mobile commerce

Let’s start with the positive aspects of m-commerce.

  • Accessibility to users. The users have constant and comfortable access to your purchases from anywhere in the world, at any time. To place an order, all the user has to do is tap the icon on the smartphone screen.
  • Convenience. The users no longer need to search the web for your website and open it in a browser. Moreover, not all online stores are well adapted to mobile devices, which can make spontaneous purchases inconvenient. Your potential buyers in this case will simply go to other sellers.
  • High speed. Your customers can save their data in the app. They do not have to enter it every time for a new purchase. This applies to delivery data, customer information, and payment data. And the easier, faster, and more secure you can make a purchase, the more returning customers you will get.
  • Personalization. M-commerce applications allow you to offer users additional products based on their preferences and purchases, make discounts and special offers, offer a bonus system, send reminders for abandoned carts or saved products, etc. Customers value self-care and individual offers.

These are not all benefits of m-commerce. You can get much more by developing apps for yourself so that they perform the functions and tasks that you need.

Disadvantages of mobile commerce

Every business has a need for opportunities and benefits that mobile commerce provides. However, there are also pitfalls here.

If your target audience consists not only of those who do everything through a smartphone but also of those who prefer PCs and laptops, you will have to develop an extra tool for working with clients in the browser. But if you already have this tool, m-commerce solutions will be a great addition to satisfy 100% of your target audience.

Another factor that you will have to consider is the platforms that your potential customers are using. Roughly speaking, this is again the age-old question: iOS or Android. If your target audience is less than 99% biased towards one system, you will need to consider designing your app to work correctly on both (or three, four, etc.) platforms.

Examples of m-commerce

Now let’s take a look at some examples and case studies showing the different ways of m-commerce implementation.

Sephora

Sephora’s Virtual Artist uses face recognition technology that allows the customers to digitally try the makeup. Here’s how it works:

  1. Scan your face with the app.
  2. Try on different shades of makeup by using the app.
  3. If you like the simulated look, you can quickly and easily buy the products through the app.

Zappos

Clothing brand Zappos has an enhanced m-commerce app with the following features:

  • Ask Zappos: Customers can take photos of clothing items or accessories that they like and use the built-in chat to have this item searched for and get a list of suggested places, prices, and directions.
  • Card reader: With this feature, customers do not have to enter their credit card data all over again. At the same time, the data is not stored on the customer’s smartphone, ensuring the security of payment transactions.
  • Handover: Apple users can use this feature to start shopping on one Apple device (e.g. an iPhone) and seamlessly continue shopping on another Apple device (e.g. a MacBook).

Nike

Nike’s AR feature called Nike Fit allows the customers to find their true shoe size. Here’s how it works:

  1. Point your phone’s camera at your feet.
  2. The app will determine and save the shoe size.
  3. During offline shopping, a sales associate can scan a QR code in the app and retrieve the shoe size.

Kohl’s

Kohl’s, the largest retailer in the United States as of December 2021, has an m-commerce app that features their own digital mobile wallet – Kohl’s Pay. The customers can use their mobile camera to scan a QR code and complete the payment. Additionally, the customers can use the app to shop both online and offline, e.g. make an initial purchase on a smartphone and then track their delivery on a desktop PC.

Domino’s

The world’s renowned pizza chain has already been using m-commerce since 2014 when they introduced Dom, an AI-powered chatbot. This bot helps customers complete their orders quickly and seamlessly and has now driven over 500,000 orders. In 2020, Domino’s also developed a new Pie Pass technology to speed up the pick-ups of pizza for takeaway customers. This technology allows customers that order online or via the app to skip the line when they collect their order.

Over to you

Mobile commerce is a subset of e-commerce, which refers to sales through the mobile versions of websites and mobile apps. M-commerce can typically include mobile banking, mobile shopping, and mobile payments. The key differences between e-commerce and m-commerce are as follows:

  • Mobile e-commerce involves not only a website but also an e-commerce app that is installed on a smartphone.
  • M-commerce has significantly larger connectivity than e-commerce.
  • M-commerce devices are easy to carry anywhere since they are lightweight, which is not possible with e-commerce
  • E-commerce concentrates on the general shopping experience on the Internet. Mobile commerce concentrates on the customer’s shopping journey on mobile devices.
  • In e-commerce, the use of the Internet is mandatory. In the case of mobile commerce, it is not mandatory.

The benefits of m-commerce are accessibility to users, convenience, high speed, and personalization. The disadvantages may include missing out on the audience that still prefers desktop versions of online stores and the need to develop apps for multiple platforms.

Many e-commerce giants have successfully implemented m-commerce solutions. We hope that your e-commerce store will join them soon. Good luck!