With the use of mobile devices as a way to make smarter purchase decisions and make payments, mobile commerce has evolved substantially since its inception in 1997 when the term m-commerce came into existence.
Hence, it is very crucial to understand the importance of mobile commerce and mobile applications in 2020’s business world.
People would have barely believed anyone a decade ago if they said that in a few years customers will be purchasing and paying for things through their mobile phones without the need for a card or any other physical access other than a good network connection and that too from anywhere.
This began with the launch of the App Store and Android Market (presently Google Play) in 2008 and with more and more mobile app development companies backing up the market intelligently; this has become a prosperous niche, resulting in the rapid increase of available applications.
As of now in 2020, the number of mobile applications available for download on both Android and iOS platforms exceeds 4.4 million units.
This is because mobile commerce has made it super convenient for the consumers to place orders and pay for them via mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, etc with virtual access to thousands of goods from dozens of stores right in the pocket.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic forced everyone indoors, online sales figures were already accounting for 18 percent of all retail transactions performed in 2019.
If you are to look at the statistic, worldwide sales through mobile devices were estimated at $2.3 trillion in 2019 and predicted to hit $3.5 trillion by the end of 2021, which will compile 72.9% of total mobile eCommerce.
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What is mobile commerce?
Mobile commerce is the buying and selling of products and services via wireless mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones, wearables, etc and can be considered as a sub-category of eCommerce. Although it primarily focuses on the retail sector, mobile commerce caters to much wider realm including banking, ticketing and travel, health services, and more due to which mobile commerce is also known as next-generation eCommerce.
Mobile commerce might be dominated by smartphone devices running on iOS and Android, but the term is inclusive of tablets (such as iPads), e-readers (such as Kindles), and wearables (such as Apple Watches) as well.
Mobile commerce makes most products and services accessible for a customer through a mobile device, including food orders, car rides, and movie tickets. People can even apply for a home loan, open a bank account, and take college classes, from these portable devices that add to their daily convenience.
But with the recent pandemic having affected the logistics and shipping industry, the supply chain management has crumbled and along with that, the winners until 2020 came crumbling down. This hasn’t affected the credibility of the mobile commerce sector. Instead, it has provided new ways of doing business with the customers even during the pandemic. All thanks to the hyperlocal way of doing business that has replaced the conventional eCommerce business with the help of mobile devices.
To understand this new way of mobile commerce, read the article Why is Hyperlocal business better than eCommerce that talks about the hyperlocal market in detail and explains how mobile applications combined with micro delivery model has given local businesses the opportunity to reach out to more customers in order to solve their needs.
So, if you are wondering why I believe that mobile commerce will thrive during and after the pandemic then I would suggest you keep reading.
Why will the future of mobile commerce remain unaffected by the pandemic
There are currently over 5.1 billion mobile phone users, of which 75% of customers carry out purchases on their mobile phones.
With the advent of the 5th generation of mobile phone technology, the delivery model for digital and physical goods and services will be accelerated further.
The first wave of e-commerce relied primarily on its delivery model that offered free delivery within a few days, and the bar was recently raised to one-day and hourly delivery. The next step in the eCommerce world will be to make businesses more agile both in manufacturing and inbound/outbound logistics.
This means that from now on every click will count, and the time between signaling to purchase and then to goods delivered will be a race towards zero. Each week of reduced overall lead times in the supply chain can deliver an extra percentage point on the bottom line and most eCommerce companies will try to achieve it using mobile devices and IoT.
The best thing about 5G is that it will be the first mobile network generation that would be truly wireless in the sense that no device or person will have to be tied to locations close to the power and Ethernet ports. In fact, 5G will increase flexibility and agility by allowing all digital devices and people to be where they add the most value instead of us having to predict the same for them as our predictions are always based on an incomplete data set.
Not only that, but 5G will also help businesses in collecting more customer data and translate those data into insights in real-time. These insights will show how customers research and buy various offerings, and how they use them post-purchase. What’s more overwhelming is that with 5G, the time between learning about the customers and acting upon new insights becomes zero.
So, what will be the effect of all these technological advantages on the mobile commerce industry?
By 2021, mobile commerce sales are expected to account for a good half of total e-commerce sales. According to eMarketer, mobile commerce accounted for 52.4% of total eCommerce revenue in 2016. This year, global mobile commerce sales are expected to reach a new high of USD 2.5 billion and account for 67.2% of total eCommerce sales.
A forecast by CBRE states that global mobile commerce revenues are expected to account for 53.9% of all eCommerce revenues by 2021 with overall growth coming majorly from smartphones over other devices.
When it comes to the country-wise assessment of mobile commerce growth, consumers in Asia are setting the pace for mobile commerce compared to other countries.
Benefits that mobile commerce can provide businesses with
Although a mobile app is a copy of the existing website, it is highly optimized, personalized and well-designed, which significantly improves customer experience and facilitates the acquisition and retention of new clients. They find themselves in a convenient online store where they can choose goods and purchase them without the hustle and bustle.
Here are some important advantages of a mobile shopping app over a responsive website:
Consumers get more freedom while using applications anytime and from any place.
Application pages load faster, therefore, they reel in more clients. Managers should realize that in the retail business, seconds count. Most visitors will leave the site if it needs more than three seconds to load and they will likely turn to competitors.
Shopping preferences and previous orders can be saved in the app, serving as the basis for personalized offerings.
The best e-Commerce applications can provide users with the basic functionality (to compare products, to check prices) even offline using a full-power performance of a smart device.
Thus, e-Commerce apps are able to create a solid loyal audience for your company.
Mobile apps support strong connections between brands and customers. For example, users willingly share links to their favorite sites, ask for feedback and describe their customer experience in social networks. You can integrate popular social media platforms into your application to let customers discuss your products and services.
These are powerful tools for building your brand’s reputation, advertising your service and drawing the attention of potential clients.
Moreover, mobile users have amazing opportunities to get push notifications with special offerings, discounts and giveaways. This means that they can save money, so from a psychological perspective, they are likely to interact with such shops on a regular basis.
Better Efficiency and Increased Revenues
As a rule, mobile applications are more flexible and user-friendly. Although their implementation is quite expensive, they are likely to quickly pay off and increase sales. The correlation is simple: a good app with the right concept and functionality brings more clients; more clients result in more orders, consequently, your earnings are increasing.
In addition, push notifications are a cheap and effective channel for increasing sales and maintaining the brand. Via push notifications, you can instantly deliver essential information to your customers and inspire them to make immediate orders.
Data is easy to gather and track in the application. Mobile functionality allows you to monitor users’ interaction and gives you useful information about them, such as responsiveness to particular content and features, feedback, session length, audience composition. This may help deliver improvements and updates, create personalized content, develop an advanced marketing strategy, and efficient promotional campaigns and. Do make use of mobile analytics.
Individual smartphones can now replace cash and credit cards due to the invention of mobile contactless payments technology. Payment apps provide ease, speed and security. At the checkout, you don’t need to get a wallet from your bag to take out coins, banknotes, or credit cards. Put the phone to the payment terminal and that’s it!
It has become especially urgent during the COVID-19 pandemic when people have to avoid touching things and try to reduce the time spent in shops.
How to integrate IoT in your mobile commerce business
As we can see from the IoT examples listed above, every solution in this sphere typically consists of two components:
- Hardware – usually a Bluetooth low energy sensor connected to the Internet. It can be a third party device (like Beacons) or a custom-built product (like the ones mentioned above). In some cases even the user’s smartphone can be used as a hardware component of an IoT solution.
- Software – the underlying cloud infrastructure and mobile app/web dashboard. This part allows you to control your IoT hardware, manage the IoT data collection, and access the information sourced by your sensors.
While the hardware part is usually more difficult to implement, the software aspect of your IoT project also deserves your attention.
It can pose a number of challenges you need to consider in advance. Those include security and privacy concerns, connectivity issues, compatibility, data collection, and processing.