The term ‘m-commerce’ stands for mobile commerce, and can be defined as the process of browsing, buying and selling of products and services on mobile devices. In simpler terms, it is the entire online shopping experience that e-commerce promised, but with more convenience of being on a mobile device. A good example of m-commerce would the the app that Amazon offers, which offers features such as daily deals, and one swipe checkouts.
According to Forrester, annual m-commerce sales are predicted to quadruple to $31 billion within the next five years. This suggests that the most obvious m-commerce trend is the growth within itself. In 2012, some websites such as Amazon experienced exponential growth, whilst some businesses were behind on the m-commerce wave, and di not capitalise on the initial shift form PC online shopping to mobile online shopping. However, in the modern era it is widely recognised the mobile commerce is one of the most important ways to enhance the brand of a company, as well as increasing sales and always trying to stay one step ahead of their competitors, by predicting the next trend. It is expected by some that the next significant trend will be voice control when browsing and purchasing on mobile devices, whether or not this will materialise remains to be seen. The future of mobile commerce is one that looks set to be extremely profitable for businesses with successful mobile commerce campaigns, and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon.
Another emerging trend within mobile commerce is that customers now want more information when browsing on their mobile devices. Studies have shown that as much as 80% of smartphone users want more product information available to them when shopping on their mobile devices. As we are all aware, convenience is one of the most important things for the consumer in the modern era, however if sacrifices are required in order to accommodate the convenience, then customers may begin to look elsewhere. The future of mobile commerce lies in vendors using trial and error, seeing which information appeals to the customers when making a transaction on a mobile device and which doesn’t.
Another trend that companies need to be aware of when tailoring their mobile commerce campaign is the rise of shopping on a tablet. Tablets generally have larger screens whilst remaining portable and, here’s the key word again, convenient, which makes it easier to navigate certain mobile websites or applications. Thanks to these features, it has been reported that 55% of tablet owners use their tablets for online shopping, which is a large amount in comparison to the reported figure of 28% of smartphone owners that shop on that device. Additionally, tablets in general are gaining popularity; studies showed that in 2012, twice as many adults owned a tablet in comparison to 2011. This suggests exponential growth in that area, and suggest that the use of tailoring your mobile commerce campaign to suit tablet users is crucial.
Also, the development of network bandwidth, including the introduction of 5G by companies such as Vodafone, across certain countries has been a driving factor behind the growth of mobile commerce in recent years, and is anticipated to be one of the driving factors in years to come. In the past, the goods and services available to purchase on your mobile device were limited; nowadays, there is far more scope for different vendors to offer a greater range of goods and services, using mobile commerce. However, within developing countries it has been found that there are not only internet connectivity issues, but also data security threats that may stunt the potential growth of mobile commerce in terms of the global market. Furthermore, there are high development costs that are associated with mobile commerce software, and there is an insufficient workforce in place to enable further viral growth in the global mobile commerce market, which may hamper the rate at which it is able to grow. Increased mobile payment systems, such as Apple Pay are expected to create more opportunities across the mobile commerce market, however as previously mentioned, there are certain security issues associated with this.
When discussing the future of mobile commerce, it is important to mention progressive web applications. These can be described as ‘a new approach to mobile engagement, that blends the ubiquity of the mobile web with the intuitive form and function of native apps’. The progressive web is, in simple terms, the evolution of digital commerce, enabled by the development of more efficient mobile frameworks, as well as faster Wi-Fi and cellular connections. The progressive web will allow vendors the opportunity to develop their existing e-commerce campaign, to present their customers with a more fluid, app-based mobile commerce campaign. Some of the benefits of the progressive web include push notifications, home screen launch icons, improved speed of mobile site, simplified user experiences. Leading Asian merchants such as Alibaba and Flipkart are leading the way for progressive web apps and the impact they can have on mobile commerce. Adoption of the aforementioned in North America is still in its infancy. Each vendor should assess how this can affect their business, and alter their approach to progressive web apps accordingly.
According to recent research, by 2020, 85% of all customer interactions will be carried out without the need for a human. This is extremely important when planning your mobile commerce campaign. With a wealth of online shopping options available to the individual in the modern era, customer service is something that can really set one company apart from the rest. Automation is a fantastic way to do this. As mentioned previously, time is of the essence to the modern buyer. Being able to speed through the checkout process, whilst still making the customer feel as though they are secure, can boost their satisfaction massively. Through the use of chatbots you will be able to reduce man hours needed to deal with customer service queries, which is why automation is one of the key drivers in the future of mobile commerce.