Adaptation and progress are fundamental to understanding the digital landscape. If they weren’t, we’d still be relying on dial up modems.
Yet despite the increasing variety of delivery and payment options available for digital vendors, many seem stuck in the assumption that what was perfectly sufficient ten years ago will remain unchanged. The result is stagnation and a failure to understand the changing needs of customers.
Digital commerce means we’re all plugged in all the time. Our laptops. Our tablets. Our smartphones. And yes, even those rare breeds who still rely on dial up modems for connectivity.
It’s been estimated that global mobile commerce payments are scheduled to increase by as much as 70 percent over the next four years, with the US seeing a growth of 74 percent. In China, where m-commerce is already well-established, vendors can expect to see an additional increase of 55 percent. But how different is m-commerce from eCommerce? What are its advantages? Its risks? And how can vendors better optimize it within their digital infrastructure?
The Three C’s: Convenience, Connectivity and Consumers
Very few of us can remember a time in which mobile connectivity wasn’t as pervasive as it is in 2021. It’s permeated the very fabric of our lives to such a degree that virtually no workplace operation can function without it. But mobile connectivity isn’t about mobility so much as connectivity. And it’s reflected in everything from medical procedures to marketing. We want to feel connected to one another at all times, whether we’re parents, employees, entrepreneurs or consumers. Especially as consumers.
Cisco Networks have recently estimated that over 70 percent of the global population will have some form of global connectivity by 2023. To take that into perspective, that’s more people than currently have active bank accounts or, sadly, running water. But while the vast majority of us have lives that are increasingly remote from one another, the need for connectivity has never been greater. And the need for communication models which can adapt to that sense of remoteness continue to develop and refine themselves.
That includes both commerce and marketing.
While it’s tempting to think of m-commerce as an entirely different model than eCommerce, the truth is there’s virtually no difference whatsoever other than one critical factor: optimization.
Simply put, any form of transaction conducted from a mobile device, be it a smartphone or a tablet, is m-commerce. Similarly, any form of digital transaction (including both mobile devices and traditional laptops and PCs) constitutes eCommerce. But m-commerce has developed differently from eCommerce by disrupting traditional delivery methods, including:
Location specific marketing and payment options.
In-store checkout, payment and promotional coupons.
Digital content delivery.
In-app marketing and payment.
Enhanced kiosk shopping assistance.
Hyperlocal marketing and services.
All of which are becoming critical to vendors now more than ever. As we stride into 2021 and beyond with a certain sense of precaution, the need for remote delivery in an increasingly distanced world has never been greater. But m-commerce doesn’t just fulfill this need. It not only helps predict future needs. It enables an omnichannel shopping experience in the truest sense of the term, merging both the physical consumer experience with digital innovation.
By integrating mobility with the offline shopping experience, consumers can plan purchases ahead as well as gain inspiration and insight into available stock in real time. M-commerce is a continually evolving process, with the popularity of voice activated commerce being just one of many recent developments.
But it’s not without its drawbacks.
The Risks and Benefits of M-Commerce
Any form of digital commerce is open to fraud and security breaches. And it’s certainly no different with m-commerce. But just how open m-commerce is to risk is more than a little alarming.
According to a recent report from LexisNexis Risk Solutions, m-commerce experienced a volume of fraud well in excess of 200 percent between 2018 and 2019 alone, with reported incidents reaching as high as 3,085 among mid-to-large sized retailers in just twelve months. In fact, it’s been estimated that mobile merchants can experience a year-over-year increase in fraud as high as twelve percent compared to three percent among solely physical retailers. And while both mobile payment providers and m-commerce vendors have addressed the rise of 5G networks by developing more sophisticated forms of fraud detection and security, the heightened risks should be taken by merchants with extreme caution and scrutiny.
But these security risks have also enabled new payment methods such as mobile wallets; which are touted as actually being safer than traditional credit cards thanks to multilayered methods of authentication, including facial scans and fingerprint identification in addition to PIN numbers. At the same time, the cost of adopting these technologies as well as relative unfamiliarity with the concept has prohibited many merchants from integrating them fully.
But do the risks outweigh the performance of m-commerce?
A 2018 report from Criteo estimated that conversions rates for mobile web apps were up to 3 times higher than traditional web based eCommerce.
A 2019 survey from RetailMeNot indicated that over two-thirds of respondents preferred reviewing product information on their smartphone compared to speaking with an in-store sales associate, with 65 percent stating they viewed redeemable mobile coupons as influencing their purchasing decisions.
Mobile web traffic has increased by 30.6 percent between 2017 and 2019, with the top 100 most visited sites receiving traffic of 223 billion monthly visits, while research from Forrester indicated that 47 percent of US retail web traffic came from mobile as early as 2016.
The average American has been estimated to spend over three hours per day on their smartphone during a typical work week in 2019.
In a 2017 study published in the Harvard Business Review, some 73 percent of 46,000 respondents interviewed used multiple channels during the whole of their shopping experience—including mobile.
Is The Future of M-Commerce Already Dead?
Not any more than traditional web based eCommerce is dead. There’s room enough in the digital realm for both to not only coexist, but complement one another. But with newer developments, such as the prevalence of 5G networks, voice-activated commerce and AR-enhanced marketing, come new challenges.
Consumers demand choice as much as they demand connectivity. To limit either is to limit your customer base as well as your own development as a business. And in 2021, that’s a risk you can no longer afford.
Color More Lines provides white glove, global account management of your ecommerce platforms so mission-driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more atColor More Lines.