mCommerce has become something of an industry buzzword lately, but what does it mean for your company? In his first of two posts on the topic of mCommerce Sage Business Expert Darren Bull founder of Metakinetic explains what mCommerce means for your business.
In its simplest definition, mCommerce is the act of shopping on a portable device rather than a traditional desktop or laptop computer, and this portable device is most commonly a smartphone or tablet. By providing support for mCommerce you are giving consumers the option to research and buy products whilst they are away from the home or office, and as a result you can open your products up to a new target customer; the commuter.
Some companies are also starting to differentiate between mobile phones and tablets when referring to mCommerce and there are several reasons for this. The biggest is that, unlike smartphones, tablets actually behave in a very similar way to traditional desktop computers in their browsing capabilities and user behaviours. Smartphones, on the other hand, have much smaller screen sizes and dimensions, so by comparison will offer a far more limited user experience.
Apps are often grouped under the mCommerce offering, but these are a little different. Rather than a website, apps are programs that are physically downloaded onto a mobile device and can run without internet connectivity. They are also significantly more expensive to build than a mobile site.
How is it evolving?
Mobile commerce has come on leaps and bounds in the past two years, when mobile website offerings could only provide a significantly cut-down version of a company’s main site due to poor internet connections and extremely slow loading speeds. The major advancements that have occurred across this 24 month period, including the widespread adoption of 3G and now 4G and the incredible popularity of mobile-orientated social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, have allowed these once-limited mobile sites to achieve remarkable progress. The growing trend for larger smartphones with higher resolution screens and even faster processors is resulting in a generation of consumers with mini computers at their fingertips, ready to shop wherever, whenever.
Do you need mobile?
I imagine you will have asked yourself the same question at some point, and I would say at this point in time it really does depend on your business. Mobile isn’t just a method of purchase but is now a vital part of the research that takes place by consumers prior to deciding on a product. Whilst you might not see an immediate increase in sales by introducing a mobile site, I am quite certain you would notice a drop in sales if you didn’t have a mobile offering in a year from now.
Over the course of the next 18 months I would expect to see a far greater number of businesses providing a mobile offering and you will eventually need to develop your own if you want to keep up with buying habits.
In the second part of this article I will be looking at the challenges that mCommerce presents to retailers and the two different purposes that mobile sites fulfil.