9 Advantages of M-Commerce for Businesses in 2020 (+ 3 Challenges)
Find out what the key advantages of m-commerce are and what unique challenges mobile commerce presents to app owners.
Even a few years ago, mobile apps used to be an option only for e-commerce giants like Amazon. But the situation has changed dramatically in the last few years. The cost of developing mobile apps has dropped down, and companies began to realize the advantages of m-commerce. The market is now filled with all kinds of mobile services – including retail apps, business apps, and e-commerce apps.
Shopping with a mobile device has become a solid customer trend, which is only going to expand in the future. That’s why so many people believe that mobile commerce is the next generation of e-commerce.
Experts predict that by 2021, mobile commerce sales will account for over half of total e-commerce sales. Whether large or small, any e-commerce company can benefit from mobile commerce apps as a useful tool for acquiring new customers and reaching new audiences. More than half of retailers already have a mobile app, and over 50% of the rest are going to build one soon.
If you’re a business owner wondering whether investing in an m-commerce application is the right move for your company in 2020, this article is for you.
Read on to find out about the critical advantages of m-commerce and the unique challenges it presents to app owners.
Table of contents
- Accelerated buyer journey
- Wider reach and accessibility
- Reaching customers at the right time
- New marketing opportunities
- Valuable customer data
- Better customer experience
- Direct communication
- Personalized content
- High competition
- Privacy concerns
- Excluding brick-and-mortar stores
What is mobile commerce? M-commerce definition
Mobile commerce is basically any transaction that takes place on a mobile device. It can be a smartphone, tablet, or even a wearable device.
Mobile commerce allows customers to purchase products or services online but with the comfort of doing that from anywhere and at any time thanks to their mobile devices.
M-commerce is more than e-commerce turned mobile. Mobile commerce is a powerful consumer trend that caused the rise of new industries and services such as mobile banking, mobile tickets and boarding passes, sophisticated location-based services, and mobile marketing.
Consumers are today used to these features as part of their experience, but let’s not forget that all of that wouldn’t be possible if not for the rise of m-commerce.
M-commerce products come in many shapes and sizes, but here are the three most common mobile commerce models that are currently being developed by businesses today.
- Mobile banking – mobile banking applications are similar to online banking applications. However, some of the transaction types may be limited or restricted on mobile devices. Most of the time, mobile banking takes on the form of a dedicated application that brings customers an excellent experience and high security. Some financial services institutions are now experimenting with innovations like chatbots and messaging apps.
- Mobile shopping – this variant of m-commerce works like a mobile counterpart of e-commerce. It basically refers to online stores accessible through mobile devices. Businesses that want to enter the mobile scene develop mobile-optimized websites, invest in dedicated apps, or take their sales to social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.
- Mobile payments – this type of m-commerce implementations focus on the wide range of mobile payment options available to consumers.
Now that you know what m-commerce is all about, so let’s take a look at the most important and mission-critical benefits mobile commerce applications bring to companies.
1. Accelerated buyer journey
Many businesses believe that by offering a responsive website, they can provide their customers with an experience that is similar to mobile apps. But this is far from the truth.
Mobile applications are 1.5 times faster when loading data and search results on mobile devices. As a result, they allow customers to browse and purchase products faster on their smartphones or tablets.
The accelerated buyer’s journey is a massive benefit to companies that want to provide their customers with the best possible experience and streamline the purchasing process as much as possible.
2. Wider reach and accessibility
Mobile commerce allows companies to enter new markets that they could never reach before. By 2021, the number of people who own a smartphone will rise to 3.8 billion. This is roughly half of the current world population.
Every person with a mobile device is a potential customer, and such a large user base offers a lot of opportunities for generating and nurturing sales leads. Accessing your offer will be much easier for users if all it takes is downloading your app from an app store.
Just compare it to purchasing products in the traditional way – at brick-and-mortar stores. A customer has to drive, walk, or take public transportation, browse items in the store, stand in a line to pay, and then make their way back home. An m-commerce app allows customers to browse your offers from anywhere, even on the go.
3. Reaching customers at the right time
Another key elements among the advantages of m-commerce for businesses across different industries is that it allows for targeted timing. Mobile commerce applications help brands to reach their customers with the right message at the right time.
For example, you can send a push notification to app users who are browsing for an item and let them know that a new version of the product will be available in a few days. If you notice that someone is shopping at your online mobile store during a lunch break, you can help them complete the purchase by sending a personalized promotion.
By taking advantage of geo-tracking and programmatic advertising, you can connect with consumers during specific moments in their day. If you do it right, you significantly increase the likelihood that they complete the purchase.
4. New marketing opportunities
Let’s turn now to the wealth of marketing advantages of m-commerce. The first one is the inherent scalability mobile commerce applications offer to businesses. By carefully monitoring and analyzing the traffic in your app, you can increase your mobile app marketing when consumer interest spikes. You can then downscale your activities to optimize your resource use when consumers are less likely to buy your products (for example, during the holiday season).
Here are some other marketing benefits of mobile e-commerce apps:
- M-commerce allows reaching your target audience directly with a mobile app. That way, you can reduce your marketing campaign costs.
- If your app is integrated with social media platforms, you can easily encourage users to spread the word about your brand and share your products with their networks.
- If your app becomes very popular, you can earn some extra money by placing ads within your app.
All in all, m-commerce will help to reduce your marketing costs and make marketing campaigns more effective thanks to access to detailed customer data (more about that in the next point).
5. Valuable customer data
In a traditional retail setting, a customer will walk into a store, make a purchase, and leave. We have no idea why they made the purchase or chose a specific product. Did they compare their purchases with other options? What factors influenced their choice? Was it the product’s price or unique features?
With mobile commerce, you can get answers to these and more questions. That’s because mobile analytics allow tracking consumer data from the moment of product discovery all the way to purchase. All the while, you can gain valuable knowledge about signals of purchase intent and learn more about the habits and preferences of your target audience.
Knowing your customers is critical to the success of your offer. Companies are doing everything they can to reach their customers with the right messages at the right time. To know your customers, you need basic demographic information, but also their shopping history and location to forecast trends and understand customer shopping patterns. And that’s something a mobile app can easily provide.
The sophistication of mobile analytics will depend on your business strategy and the resources you can allocate to mobile app development. Adding such analytics features opens the door to increasing sales by reaching your customers proactively with personalized offers.
To see how these all of these advantages of m-commerce work in practice, check out this case study of an award-winning m-commerce app we developed for a leading footwear retailer, CCC.
6. Better customer experience
Companies are fighting for the attention of customers. The increased competition means that delivering unique and personalized customer experience is more important than ever.
Here are a few unique ways in which m-commerce apps offer a great user experience:
- The advantages of m-commerce lie in the consumers’ familiarity with how smartphones and other mobile devices work. Most people know how to navigate to the desired product in just a few clicks. Developing smooth navigation inside your app is enough to nudge users in the right direction.
- Don’t forget that customers use mobile devices to communicate with other people. That’s why it makes sense to include social media integrations. App users can then easily share their opinions, talk about your product, or even ask for advice from the community.
- Add a few exclusive features such as personalized discounts and push notifications, as well as various payment options to elevate the experience with your product.
- A recent survey revealed that 69% of customers prefer to review a product on their phone than speak with an in-store sales rep. Consumers like to research products before buying them, and carrying a mobile device with access to the internet provides them with an option to do that. If you have brick-and-mortar stores, you can enhance the in-store experience by equipping your app with particular features. For example, you can send notifications with personalized promotion based on the buyer’s shopping history or help shoppers navigate inside your store and find the products they need quickly.
What other features do successful mobile commerce apps need? Read this article: Top 24 E-Commerce Mobile App Features
Better customer experience brings higher content conversion rates and revenue. A convenient, interactive, and well-designed mobile e-commerce application will improve the overall buying process.
7. Direct communication
Businesses can communicate with their audiences in many different ways – for example, email newsletters or social media. But there’s nothing more direct than push notifications. While ignoring an email is easy, the same isn’t true for push notification. The ability to establish such a direct line of communication with customers is a major reason why so many companies are now choosing to create e-commerce applications.
Push notification comes with higher open rates (even 90%!) and is a perfect channel of communication for letting your customers know about new products or seasonal sales.
Push notifications are instant, and, at the same time, they’re unobtrusive. Direct alerts about updates, new products, and promotions offer a new level of personal engagement. And 70% of users actually find them useful, so you don’t risk that users get annoyed with your brand communications.
8. Personalized content
Consumers respond positively to personalized content because they feel that the brand keeping an eye on their preferences and wants them to experience more with their products. The more specific and personal your offers, the better. They help to expand your reach and increase engagement with your brand, ultimately driving customer loyalty and improving the conversion rate.
And this is another one of advantages of m-commerce. By analyzing the behavior patterns and individual preferences of app users, you can deliver personalized content easily. This can be, for instance, special promotions or offer based on the user’s shopping history.
Mobile e-commerce apps allow companies to gather data about user location, interests, shopping history, items viewed, and social media profiles. When you put all of this information together, delivering the right messages to your customers will be easy. Some apps are designed to track user behaviors and offer product recommendations in real time. This translates into higher conversion rates and increases customer loyalty.
Mobile commerce apps offer so many advantages because they’re part of mobile devices that come with their own set of helpful features. Modern mobile devices are equipped with a camera that enables scanning barcodes, a positioning system for location, and many other built-in features you can use for commercial purposes.
M-commerce solutions can navigate users to the nearest stores thanks to GPS or innovative computing devices like beacons. In one of our previous articles about m-commerce, we discussed the app developed by Starbucks, which offers this feature to its customers. App users can easily find the nearest coffee shop, and then order and pay for their drink on the go.
Geolocation works inside stores as well. For example, IKEA’s app allows customers to navigate to the products they need easily. Indoor navigation is the newest mobile commerce trend, and many companies include maps and lists of their products to help customers have the best experience in their brick-and-mortar stores.
Challenges of mobile commerce apps for business owners
Just like any other technology, mobile commerce comes with its fair share of challenges. Here are the most important of them together with strategies you can use to mitigate these risks and gain a competitive edge thanks to the advantages of m-commerce applications.
1. High competition
There’s no denying that mobile commerce is on the rise, and companies across all sectors are now turning their attention to the mobile marketplace. While there are thousands of customers waiting on the mobile end of technology, you can also expect thousands of your competitors doing the exact same thing. To be competitive, your application needs to deliver a unique user experience and offer its users the exact features they want to drive engagement.
You can accomplish that by building an MVP of your app and testing it among your target audience to gather valuable feedback. How to get started? Check out our guides:
- What is a Minimum Viable Product? MVP Definition & Business Meaning
- How to Build a Minimum Viable Product – MVP Guide for App Owners
2. Privacy concerns
Consumers who download mobile apps are aware that companies that provide them are going to track their behaviors and collect data. With that comes the higher responsibility to protect it. That’s why it’s smart to team up with a mobile development team experienced in building such apps. A team like that will provide you with a foolproof product protected against all possible threats.
3. Excluding brick-and-mortar stores
Some companies that start to focus on mobile commerce forget about their physical locations. To avoid this risk, it’s enough to combine the digital and physical space. You can do that by offering consumers an application that assists them while shopping. Esize.me is a great example of that.
Some shopping apps allow consumers to amplify their shopping experience by offering personalized promotions and discounts inside brick-and-mortar stores.
Despite these challenges, mobile commerce offers many advantages to businesses and is definitely worth a try.
A professional mobile development team will help you to address these risks and prepare your application for the high competition.
Mobile commerce is becoming one of the most powerful consumer trends in 2020. More than 3 billion people around the world now use smartphones to go online every day. And mobile shopping is going to drive even more conversions.
M-commerce apps offer great shopping experiences for customers, all the while gathering data about their buying habits and preferences. That’s how mobile commerce apps provide companies with new sales and marketing options.
If you run a business that could benefit from an m-commerce app, investing in it right now is a smart move. You don’t want to be late to the mobile party.
Get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more about your options. Our mobile development team provides industry leaders like CCC with high-quality m-commerce applications that take them to the next level.