For the last few decades, ecommerce has dramatically increased in popularity among shoppers. Because of the convenience and ease of buying online, this method is preferred by many shoppers around the world today.
In more recent years, mobile commerce has increasingly dominated the industry.
In fact, Statista states that 73% of all ecommerce transactions worldwide will be completed on mobile devices by the end of 2021.
Although nothing’s set in stone, it’s safe to assume mobile commerce will continue to play a role in the future of ecommerce.
Mobile commerce and ecommerce overlap in vital areas, but they also stand apart in areas that are critical to your marketing campaigns and results.
Understanding how they differ and what to expect from mobile commerce going forward is essential for your ongoing profitability and success.
What is mobile commerce?
Ecommerce is a broad term that refers to the buying and selling of goods on the internet. Mobile commerce, or m-commerce, describes online purchases that are specifically completed using smartphones and tablets.
Because of this, all m-commerce transactions are considered ecommerce, but not all ecommerce dealings can be categorized as m-commerce.
While some people refer to m-commerce as a growing trend, it should actually be viewed as an evolution of modern consumer behavior. This is because it’s not likely to disappear as trends often do.
In fact, it’s so prevalent and essential that it’s generated several new niche industries. A few of these spinoff industries include mobile payments, location-based services, and mobile marketing.
As an online-business owner, you can’t assume that simply having a mobile-responsive site is enough to cover all of your m-commerce marketing needs. Everything from your marketing to your checkout process may require special attention to meet this growing market.
Types of transactions in mobile commerce
Shoppers are able to complete multiple types of financial activities online using a mobile apparatus. Mobile commerce dealings can include banking, making payments, and shopping.
The convenience of mobile banking has transformed how you can manage your finances. Through an app, you can check your bank account balance, initiate account transfers, deposit checks, view transaction details, and address other needs. These activities can also be completed on a mobile device through the browser.
Likewise, many consumers are now paying their bills online. This extends beyond accessing bill-pay functions through a bank’s mobile platform. It also includes making monthly payments for credit cards, utilities, rent or mortgage and more.
This added convenience helps people to better manage their funds and ensures that they take care of bills in a timely manner. It also eliminates the hassle of mailing checks to each company or provider that they do business with.
Mobile shopping extends beyond purchasing clothes, home goods, and other essential items. Today’s shoppers can also buy groceries, order takeout food, and even purchase a new car through a mobile device. Besides occuring on websites and apps, mobile purchases can be completed via some of the more popular social media platforms.
Why is mobile commerce important?
The prevalence of this form of commerce is important to your business for several reasons. Understanding the key advantages of mobile commerce may reveal why it’s advantageous to keep tabs on the trends in this area going forward.
First, it enables consumers to comparison-shop for goods that meet their needs without having to sit in front of a desktop or visit a local store. As convenient as it is to buy on the internet, it’s even easier to make a purchase through a handheld device that’s available at your fingertips.
Through m-commerce, shoppers can find the best deal available while feeling supported by chatbots, augmented reality, and other mobile technologies from anywhere and at any hour.
Second, the tremendous growth in this form of commerce, which has been changing how people shop online, is expected to continue.
By delivering an improved m-commerce experience in the months and years ahead, internet retailers can better cater to users making purchases on their phones. This will likely lead to more conversions and revenue for these companies.
Another benefit that stores can enjoy when they focus on m-commerce is that they can be accessible to their customers at all times. Besides being available through a company’s own site, products can be obtained via social media apps, Amazon, and other platforms.
Making your shop accessible in a variety of ways is an excellent way to help boost sales.
A final and critical benefit is the ability to accept multiple types of payments. Online shoppers can utilize Apple Pay, Visa Checkout, Paypal, and other methods to complete a transaction conveniently and securely on mobile devices.
By doing so, they can avoid entering shipping info and credit card details manually.
Trends in mobile commerce
M-commerce continues to evolve, and it’s shaping consumer buying trends in the process. Because of the increasing prevalence of web purchases, ensure that your site has the necessary functions of electronic commerce to adapt accordingly.
In addition, you must keep an eye on trends and developments that may impact ecommerce activities going forward. This enables you to strategically improve relevant aspects of your operations to take advantage of the growth in this area.
Here are some of the more prevalent trends that you should be aware of today.
1. Using mobile apps to shop
While m-commerce covers all types of shopping experiences conducted through a mobile device, many people are increasingly choosing to shop specifically through apps. In fact, data from Statista reveals that 46% of consumers in the United States used a mobile app to research at least one product in 2019.
A majority of shoppers also directly opened an app to proceed with researching and making purchases, bypassing using a browser for these activities altogether.
As you look at what this trend means for your company in the future, understand that this trend doesn’t reduce the need to have a mobile-responsive website.
However, it does highlight the need to also develop a well-designed mobile app for your customers to use as desired. Limiting the options to your customers could unnecessarily limit your business's income potential.
2. Increased trust in mobile shopping
Consumers are becoming increasingly trusting of the security of buying on the internet. This is directly impacting the popularity of making mobile purchases.
While some aspects of this increased level of trust are directly tied to shoppers’ familiarity with this process, others are tied to improvements in security.
To encourage your customers to have continued confidence with making purchases on your site, keep up to date trends in web and mobile security. You should also clearly illustrate the measures that your company is taking by displaying security badges and logos on your app and website.
3. Sales from smartphones compared to tablets
When you examine m-commerce more closely, you’ll see that it’s largely broken down into purchases that are executed on smartphones and on tablets. It’s easy to assume that these would be relatively similar and would not require individual analysis.
However, there are important differences between sales on smartphones vs. tablets.
According to Business Insider, it’s projected that U.S. revenue from purchases completed on smartphones will reach $418.9 billion (USD) in 2024. This is compared to slightly less than $69 billion (USD) in revenue that’s expected to be generated on tablets in 2024.
Furthermore, purchases completed on tablets are projected to decline in the next few years, while those made on smartphones are likely to increase.
What does this trend mean for your company?
One important impact is that location-based push notifications and push notifications in general may be increasingly beneficial. This is because push notifications are most often received in real-time on smartphones rather than on tablets.
While you shouldn’t lose sight of the tremendous opportunities to connect with consumers through tablets, this trend indicates the need to cater to smartphone users.
4. One-click ordering
Users can easily grow annoyed and stressed when they are faced with a lengthy, complicated checkout process, regardless of the gadget they’re using. The smaller display screens of smartphones and tablets can increase the challenge of filling out long checkout forms.
One-click ordering is preferred by today’s shoppers, and it’s increasingly becoming an expected convenience.
The cart abandonment rate is extraordinarily high with mobile websites, but it drops dramatically for purchases made on a mobile app. Both of these actions would be completed on the mobile device, but the difference lies in the checkout process.
The abandonment rate drops significantly when customers have access to a one-click checkout via an app.
5. Social commerce
Social media has been an integral part of ecommerce businesses for years. It’s played roles in increasing awareness, promoting brand image, and more. However, getting followers to click from a social media post to a shop’s product page has been challenging until recently.
Social media platforms have evolved to facilitate social commerce.
For example, businesses can now tag products on Facebook and Instagram posts. When followers click on an item that interests them, they’re taken directly to the shop’s product page.
This streamlines the purchasing process and can potentially improve users’ experiences and a shop’s revenue-generation capabilities.
Keep in mind that many consumers already have Facebook and Instagram. By putting your products in their feeds, you’re placing these items directly in front of your target audience, using a platform that they’re already using.
6. Shopping via voice apps
Personal digital assistants like Alexa and Siri are no longer a novelty. They’re increasingly used in everyday life in a variety of ways, and this now includes making purchases on the internet.
According to Invesp, by 2022, voice shopping is predicted to reach $40 billion (USD) in the US alone.
Product research and buying via voice commands are expected to increase dramatically in the years ahead. Keep in mind that voice commands can also be completed conveniently via a smartphone and do not necessarily require a smart speaker or another special device.
Your website and app must be configured properly to accommodate those wanting to make purchases via this method.
7. Mobile chatbots
Chatbots provide businesses with a cost-effective way to improve customer service. They are available to customers at all hours of the day so that they can receive support regardless of when they’re making a purchase.
As the technology used in chatbots has dramatically improved, online shoppers often prefer to interact with them rather than contact a live customer-service representative.
Today, chatbots are not yet universally used by all ecommerce businesses on their desktop-accessible websites. Because of an increase in consumer preference and changing expectations, this may need to be a part of your development efforts for your site.
Furthermore, the trend is likely to carry over to apps. As you design a new app or upgrade your existing one, this is an important feature to consider adding.
8. Augmented reality
As popular as ecommerce and m-commerce are, they have some serious limitations. For example, buyers have only been able to visualize products via a two-dimensional image or through video footage in some cases until recently.
The trend toward incorporating augmented reality into shopping apps is growing, and it can have a powerful impact on a user’s purchasing experience.
Some of the many uses for augmented reality in apps is to showcase the size and color of furniture in a shopper’s living space. Through the technology used here and in other ways, consumers can make smarter buying decisions.
It can improve shoppers’ experiences by elevating their confidence in the items that they’ve selected and can also lower return rates.
9. Mobile in-store checkout
If you have an internet presence as well as a brick-and-mortar store, you should still take advantage of the convenience of a mobile checkout. The one-click checkout process that today’s shoppers appreciate with app purchases can extend to other types of activities.
For example, there is a growing trend for stores to offer one-click mobile checkouts in their physical locations.
A mobile in-store checkout gives customers the ability to avoid long lines at brick-and-mortar locations. This saves time, reduces stress, and enhances the benefits of making in-store purchases.
Many customers appreciate the speed and convenience of mobile shopping with a speedy checkout. However, they also enjoy the ability to physically interact with merchandise in stores before making a purchase. A mobile in-store checkout process offers users the benefits of both options.
Stores can also take advantage of their app to market to customers. For example, customers could receive a push notification telling them about item availability or specials as soon as they enter the shop.
10. Fraud in mobile shopping
While buyers are becoming more confident about their ability to shop safely with reputable sites, they’re aware of the dangers associated with cybercrime and fraud. The unfortunate reality is that the majority of fraudulent activities are associated with mobile devices.
Regardless of how well-protected your site is, you must take reasonable steps to protect shoppers making purchases on their phones. All companies and all shoppers can be exposed to cybercrime.
However, there are steps that you can take to elevate the protection of your business and your customers.
App purchases are generally more secure than those completed online, and you can take this security to a new level. For example, using two-factor authentication with app activities can dramatically reduce the risk of being victimized by criminals.
11. Mobile payments
The popularity of mobile wallets has increased in recent years thanks to the security and the convenience that they bring to the table. These wallets include Android Pay, Apple Pay, and others.
These and other forms of digital wallets are accessible for internet purchases as well as those made in stores. Besides accessing the wallets via a smartphone or tablet, shoppers can connect to their digital wallets through an Apple Watch and other connected wearables.
Stores must give site visitors access to their preferred payment methods. This is particularly important when their preferred payment methods add to their convenience and security.
If your website doesn’t already let visitors pay via mobile wallets, you should try to add this feature as soon as possible, seeing as it’s one of ecommerce’s top payment trends. Mobile wallets should be accessible via apps, on sites, and in brick-and-mortar locations.
It doesn’t appear as if mobile commerce is going anywhere anytime soon. As the owner of an online store, it’s essential that you stay on top of changing customer preferences and expectations.
With the aforementioned trends in mobile commerce, the evolution of technology can enhance the customer experience in various ways, including improving security, confidence, speed, and more.
By monitoring and adjusting to these developing mobile commerce trends, you can potentially reduce cart abandonment, increase revenue, and deliver other essential benefits for your business!