Mobile commerce now plays a central role in the profitability of online businesses. A Portaltech Reply and eDigitalResearch study showed that mobile purchases have quadrupled within two years.
More people than ever are using smartphones to visit the Internet. Additionally, mobile applications have increased significantly and are shoring up m-commerce performance. More than 64% of smartphone users in the UK have bought items from online stores using their phones.
What is M-Commerce?
Before we get into the details of why m-commerce is crucial for the success of online businesses, let’s start by defining what it is.
M-commerce combines the words mobile and commerce. It refers to the process whereby people buy and sell products and services from their mobile devices. It also provides customers with information about products and services they could buy. M-commerce is a sub-branch of e-commerce rather than a separate platform.
M-commerce provides convenient shopping options for people who have smaller screens (mostly smartphones but tablets too.) Online businesses that want to sell successfully online must have mobile-friendly versions of their websites and apps. User experience is crucial in m-commerce. Therefore, online stores need responsive designs that are friendly to smaller screens.
What Does Mobile Commerce Include?
Many people think that mobile commerce is about online stores selling their products to customers and nothing else. However, there are some lesser-known parts of the mCommerce space. Let’s break down the components of mobile commerce. How many types of mCommerce exist?
Mobile banking apps are closely related to online banking websites. However, the mobile versions might not have all the functionality present in their online counterparts. Some mobile banking apps are incorporating chat features to improve communication with customers.
It is very similar to e-commerce but works on mobile devices. MCommerce is a sub-category of e-commerce. The two platforms differ in the way people access the shopping sites. Mobile websites also work differently.
Mobile shopping uses websites optimised for phones. It also leverages smartphone apps to sell products to potential customers.
Mobile payments are taking a more central role in the world of e-commerce. There are numerous implementations of mobile payments designed to streamline the payment process. They include popular platforms like Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay. Other platforms have been around longer like PayPal.
Advantages of Mcommerce for Online Businesses
Mobile shopping apps used to be a preserve of the biggest online retailers. However, since making e-commerce apps became cheaper, even small businesses can now sell to their customers using mobile apps. More than half of all online sales now come from mobile devices. What are the benefits of m-commerce for business?
1. Accelerated shopping
Mobile devices allow a person to shorten the time between finding an item online and buying it. Mobile websites are intuitive and enable customers to get to the products they want to buy without wasting time.
2. Wider reach
Thanks to m-commerce, companies can now reach markets they were previously unable to. There is almost one smartphone for every person in the world. Each of these devices connects a potential customer to companies.
Mobile devices not only help you to sell items–they are also excellent lead-generation tools. When potential customers stumble across your products online, you can get notified about them and engage with them to convince them to buy your products.
3. Reach Customers In Real-Time
When people use computers to access the Internet, they cannot be online all the time. Sometimes you need to go out to fetch the groceries or fill up the car. You cannot carry your computer with you.
Mobile phones provide users with different use cases. People carry their phones everywhere and are almost always online.
Businesses can take advantage of this seamless connectivity by sending push notifications to users of their apps. These notifications can include anything from price reductions to changes in product availability status. Mobile apps also help you analyse the behavior of your customers.
You can send them customised deals to increase their chances of buying items. Upselling customers is also possible when you know their shopping behavior.
4. New Marketing Opportunity
The potential to market to your target customers is huge with mCommerce. You enjoy incredible scalability because of the sheer number of customers you can reach.
Mobile apps make it convenient to identify marketing opportunities by monitoring traffic statistics. You can schedule marketing activities to reach as many users as possible. When visitors reduce, you can scale down the marketing to optimise your resource usage.
If you integrate your app with social media platforms, you could encourage your customers to spread the word about your products.
5. You Get to Collect Useful Data About Your Customers
When you operate a physical shop, people come to buy items and leave without giving you any data. You cannot tell what made them choose the products or if they are first-time buyers or returning customers. This lack of information makes it challenging to make your store responsive to customers’ needs.
MCommerce provides you with numerous opportunities to get answers to your questions. Mobile apps contain analytics that can gather data from the moment a customer discovers a product to when they buy it. A mobile app lets you know about purchase signals and the habits of your target customers.
Mobile commerce also provides you with a wealth of historical data. The data helps you make forecasts or modify your operation to increase your selling efficiency.
6. Improves Customer Experience
Online businesses are fighting tooth and nail to increase their customer numbers. It is more important than ever to provide customers with tailor-made experiences to make them want to return to your store. The quality of mobile apps has increased dramatically. Customers have grown to expect higher standards when they use mobile apps.
How do mCommerce apps improve your customers’ experience?
First, they make it easier for people to navigate to their desired products. When you develop an app with an intuitive user interface, it will make customers stay longer. Your chances of selling items also increase.
Secondly, people do not like to hear about products from in-store sales representatives. The majority of people now prefer to review products on their phones before making purchase decisions.
7. MCommerce Enables you to Deliver Personalised Content
Traditional marketing strategies target broad audiences. Unfortunately, you have no option but to use generic marketing messages because the target audience is too diverse. Mobile commerce gives you more flexibility than traditional marketing.
Consumers are more likely to respond to personalised messages. You can personalise messages based on the customer data you collect with mobile analytics. Data you collect can help you segment your customers based on their behaviors. You can later develop promotional material for each segment to maximise customer engagement.
8. Lower Costs and Increased Productivity
Traditional marketing campaigns could cost you a lot of money while yielding meager returns. When you use mobile apps to connect with customers, you spend less money on promotions. Furthermore, satisfied customers can help you spread awareness about your brand if you include social media integration in your app.
Another reason to go with mobile commerce is that it is now cheaper to create mobile apps than to pay for traditional e-commerce platforms.
How Businesses Can Optimise for Mobile Commerce
Well-implemented mCommerce apps and websites attract potential customers and make them more likely to buy. Here are some tips for optimising your business for mCommerce.
1) Mobile friendly web design
Do not assume that your existing website will look well on mobile devices. You might need to adjust most user interface elements of traditional websites to be easy to interact with on a mobile phone. You can hire a web designer to tell you if you can repurpose your website or if you need to rebuild it.
2) Shorten your content
People visiting your site on computers can easily read large blocks of text. However, mobile phones have small screens, and people don’t like to scroll endlessly when reading text. You might want to consider shortening some of your longer content.
3) Improve load times
People are very impatient when loading online content. If a page takes longer than three seconds to load, they might hit the refresh button. If it is still slow, they might take their business elsewhere.
You can improve load times by loading the page progressively. You can make pages that load text content first and heavier elements later.
4) Streamline the checkout process
Customers expect their smartphones to make their work easier. It could be ironic if they breeze through the product selection stage and run into roadblocks during checkout.
A proper checkout process should not be more than three pages long.
5) Eliminate pop-ups and ads
When creating a mobile app or website, you might want to monetise it by putting ads on it. However, the extra money you might make from it might not be worth the annoyance to customers.
Mobile commerce is one of the fastest emerging consumer trends. Old and new businesses alike need to take advantage of the huge potential customer base on tap.
Apart from providing a place to sell, mobile apps also gather vital data that enables companies to tailor their services for customers.
Businesses that learn to harness the power of mobile commerce gain valuable customers and strengthen the loyalty of existing ones.