What Is M-Commerce and What Are Its Benefits?
Updated · Apr 22, 2022
M-commerce, or mobile commerce, is the term used for any type of business transaction that takes place over a mobile device.
This could include buying and selling products or services, making payments, or completing any other commercial transaction.
In essence, m-commerce is a subset of e commerce.
However, the answer to our question, “What is m-commerce?”, is a little more complicated than that.
This article will discuss m-commerce, its benefits and provide some tips on getting started.
1. What Are The Benefits of M-commerce
M-commerce has become increasingly popular in recent years as more and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to shop online.
Almost everyone on the planet has a smartphone these days, over 6 billion people, in fact.
Therefore aiming for m-commerce, rather than pure ecommerce is a wise strategy that offers the following benefits:
Although m-commerce is a subset of ecommerce, it can actually have a wider reach.
Nearly everyone on the planet now has a smartphone. This gives your business a much wider potential customer base than if you were only selling through brick-and-mortar stores or desktop computers.
As you’ll soon see, maintaining an m-commerce platform can be way cheaper than running a full online store.
An m-commerce store can cost less to set up and maintain than a traditional ecommerce website. You won’t need expensive infrastructure or additional staff.
Facilitating shopping on mobile offers more flexibility than traditional ecommerce websites, making it easier to change products, pricing, and promotions on the fly.
This can be a huge advantage for businesses that need to respond quickly to changes in the market, or for a rapid live testing phase of your business.
With it being cheaper to run, an m-commerce platform allows you to be more competitive with your pricing.
Given that your operating margin is lower, you can offer better prices than pure ecommerce competitors, making your offer more enticing.
2. How to Get Started in M-commerce
Know you now about the benefits, but what is m-commerce to you as a seller? In other words, how do you get started?
Setting Up Mobile-Friendly Website
First, you’ll need an actual “site” for your customers to interact with.
This can be a mobile-friendly website or, if you have the resources, a dedicated app. A more cost-effective solution is to use a mix of SaaS solutions. To begin, a landing page builder, and an email marketing solution.
The landing page will act as a sort of “microsite” to host your call to action, which will push the customer through to answering it.
Then the email marketing software will take care of the post-order phase, and remarketing.
There are a number of mobile commerce apps that can ease you into the arena.
Of course, to actually turn a profit you’ll need the most basic component, which is a payment gateway. There are a number of pre-configured ones that you can take advantage of.
What you need to realize about mobile commerce is that it isn’t just a self-contained thing. It also lends itself to traditional commerce.
For example, you can incorporate mobile payment gateways into a brick-and-mortar store if you have one.
M-commerce doesn’t have to be confined strictly to phones, it can also be used to augment traditional commerce.
Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are just two examples of phones being used for regular shopping.
Finally, you’ll need to promote your m-commerce solutions to reach your target customers.
Advertising is perhaps the area where m-commerce has the biggest advantage over ecommerce.
Two words: social media.
Gone are the days when it was confined to the desktop, with people exchanging pokes on Facebook.
Facebook has gone mobile, and the most frequently used platforms, such as Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat center on mobile. That’s a lot of customers stores that aren’t optimizing for mobile are missing.
A mobile shopping company active on social media can expect 32% more sales. Advertising on a site like Instagram is fluid because your CTA looks just like any other post.
Now the kneejerk reaction might be “No. I want my post to stand out.” but in this case, blending in is a good thing.
Most users double-tap as a reflex when they see something they like, and if they like your ad, it’ll send them straight to your store.
Your ads are right in the action, rather than off to the side like they would be on a traditional website.
3. Mobile Commerce Examples and Platforms
There are a variety of different m-commerce platforms available, each with its own set of features.
Most are desktop platforms that have rolled out highly optimized mobile platforms. Some of the most popular platforms include:
Etsy is a popular platform for businesses that sell handmade or vintage items.
Etsy’s m-commerce platform makes it easy for customers to browse and purchase items on the go.
One of the key players in mobile commerce is Amazon.
It’s one of the most popular ecommerce platforms in the world, and it also has a very successful m-commerce platform.
Amazon’s m-commerce solution is particularly well-suited for businesses that sell physical goods.
Uber is a ridesharing app that allows users to request and pay for rides all from their mobile devices.
Uber’s m-commerce platform has proved to be very successful, with the company now operating in more than 600 cities worldwide.
While we know you can’t launch your store on Uber, we included it to illustrate that m-commerce doesn’t have to be strictly focused on goods.
The application of mobile commerce can also be great for selling services.
WhatsApp for Business
Launched in 2018, WhatsApp for Business allows businesses to perform through the chat app.
WhatsApp has over two billion users, and continues to grow.
While it won’t necessarily be the sole platform you use, it’s definitely handy as a supplementary tool, and with the increasing popularity of WhatsApp, it’s certainly future-proof.
4. How to Choose an M-Commerce Platform
Another part of answering the question “What is mobile commerce?”, comes down to the considerations of choosing an m-commerce platform?
Here are a few tips:
Consider Your Needs
The first step is to consider your specific needs as a business.
What type of products or services do you sell?
How large is your inventory?
What are your shipping needs?
Answering these questions will help you narrow down your options and choose wisely.
Once you’ve identified a few potential platforms, take the time to compare their features.
Some platforms offer more features than others, so it’s important to weigh them up.
Consider Your Budget
eCommerce and M-commerce platforms can vary widely in price, as can the various tools you may want, so it’s essential to consider your budget when making your decision.
There are a few exciting trends we’d like to end off on.
The first is the use of chatbots, and the second is augmented reality (AR)
Chatbots are artificial intelligence (AI) software that can simulate human conversation.
And they’re becoming increasingly popular in m-commerce, as they can be used to help customers with tasks like product selection, checkout, and customer service.
A short note on m-commerce and chatbots: They’re mainly used to answer FAQs and connect users to support agents, but in time they will be able to help users decide on products and services by talking to them.
Definitely, something to watch for.
Augmented reality (AR) is one of the most buzzed-about technologies in recent years, and it’s starting to make its way into m-commerce.
Through a phone camera, AR allows businesses to overlay digital content on top of the real world, making it possible for customers to “try on” products without ever having to leave their homes.
In this regard, a unique application of m-commerce is that they can measure whether furniture will fit and see what it looks like. Rotate objects to see how they look from every angle and even see them in action. It’s a tool that’s got practical applications beyond convenience,
While VR hogs most of the attention, AR is more likely to become prominent in daily life due to practicality.
M-commerce has come a long way, but it’s still growing fast.
For businesses, m-commerce offers several advantages, including increased sales, improved customer satisfaction, and the ability to reach new markets.
So, what is m-commerce? It’s an opportunity to strengthen your offerings in every regard, and with that in mind, we hope this article helped you learn a thing or two about what it can do for you.
Garan is a writer interested in how tech reshapes the environment, and how the environment reshapes tech. You'll usually find him inoculating against future shock and arguing with bots.